Friday, February 27, 2009

The Local Weekend: Closing Out February, Opening Up March

Another jam-packed weekend of shows to finish off February and begin March including big names, multiple stops, local shows and CD releases. Here is what to check out:

Benjy Ferree (via artist myspace)

I am all about giving love once again to the locals putting out new material. Big show Saturday at the Black Cat as Benjy Ferree drops his latest Come Back to the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee. Once again, Tim Fite is along for the ride as well as locals The Laughing Man. This is going to be a great show and a good way to get your hand on the new disc. And speaking of new disc, get the link for Time Fite's Change of Heart in its entirety below.

mp3: Benjy Ferree - Fear (via Domino Recording Company)
mp3: Tim Fite - Change of Heart (entire album via artist website)

The Black Cat is the place to release new music as another local artist, Sean McArdle unleashes Northern Charms on Sunday. To make the evening a little sweeter, he enlisted another local favorite John Bustine to perform.

mp3: John Bustine - This Guitar Says I'm Drunk (via Gypsy Eyes Records)

Now if you like to follow a band around for a few days and make a weekend of it, a few are making two stop this weekend in the IA area.

DC's electronic mainstays Thievery Corporation is making the rounds again, this time with stops in Baltimore Friday at Rams Head Live and Saturday at the Electric Factory in Philly.

Tapes N Tapes are hitting the area with Wild Light and The Subjects rounding out the bill. The Rock & Roll Hotel will be on fire Friday, then head up to Philly Saturday for the show at Johnny Brendas. Both are reported to be sold out!

And two line-ups mentioned in previous posts: Jason Isbell with Deer Tick and Tim Williams with Michael Zapruder

mp3: Tapes N Tapes - Insistor (via bands website)
mp3: Wild Light - Red House (via
mp3: The Subjects - The Hounds of War (via Daytrotter)


For the one night stands, it doesn't get much better than this. Ben Kweller joins forces with The Watson Twins and Jones Street Station for what show be a great show at the TLA in Philly. You may not get Ben playing a bloody piano with tampons in his nose like at ACL a few years back, but should be none the less entertaining. And hope the Twins break out the cover of "Just Like Heaven". Absolutely stellar.

mp3: The Watson Twins - Sky Open Up (via Vanguard Records)

For those seeking the local flavor, the M Room is hosting The Elevator Parade and Native Black.


Texas music strikes twice in DC on the same night. Huge show at the Rock & Roll Hotel as Austin band ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead lives up to their name by giving a killer show. At the 9:30 Club, San Antonio family band Hacienda open up for the Black Keys Dan Auerbach. Also on the bill are Those Darlins. Imagine a '50s girl band thats gone country. Worth a listen.

Jukebox the Ghost is set to open for Ben Folds on some tour dates, but before doing that, they play DC9 with Baltimore's J Roddy Walston & The Business. Over at Velvet Lounge, catch Deleted Scenes with Batata Doce and Mittenfields.

mp3: Jukebox the Ghost - Victoria
mp3: J Roddy Walston & The Business - Used to Did
mp3: Deleted Scenes - Turn to Sand (via bands website)


Finish off the weekend and kick off a new month with Portland's Blitzen Trapper at the First Unitarian in Philly. Opening is Rough Trade artist Alela Diane.

Down in DC, Montreal's Plants and Animals makes a stop at DC9 to close out the week.

mp3: Blitzen Trapper - Furr (via subPop)
mp3: Alela Diane - White as Diamonds (via Beggars Group USA website)


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Michael Zapruder

Photo via Sidecho Records

Bay Area musician Michael Zapruder started using the internet for self-promotion back in 1999, way before the blogosphere erupted into what it is now. He set out to write, recorder and post a song a week and did that just with the aptly named 52 Songs. After 2 more albums in 2002 and 2006, Zapruder released his latest work, Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope, in January on Sidecho Records. Most songs are minimalist, no soaring guitar solos and rhythmic drum breaks found here. His vocals are bordering on sing-song and have a grainy, scratchy quality, which are complemented by the sparse instrumentation. The albums highlight "Ads For Feelings" garners this description from Pitchfork:
If Beck's "The New Pollution" and Joni Mitchell's "Free Man in Paris" conceived a child, it might sound something like this, with its great, mellow lead vocal, quick tempo, and psychedelic flute breaks.
You may also recognize the name from his work a music curator for Pandora, a music recommendation and internet radio site.

You can catch Michael in the IA area this weekend with Dovecote recording artist Tim Williams. His latest album, When Work Is Done, has been called "magical" and "a damn good record" and he has had his music featured on One Tree Hill.

So head on out this weekend. You can catch me at the Saturday show and if you would like to join in the fun on the Main Line, drop me a line and we may be able to pull some strings and who knows what else.

2/28 Ardmore @ Milkboy Coffee
3/1 DC @ The Red & The Black

mp3: Michael Zapruder - Ads For Feelings (via Sidecho Records/JD @ Family Albums)
mp3: Tim Williams - Out There (via Daytrotter Session)

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Deer Tick

No, not the nasty little critters that can transmit Lyme Disease. Deer Tick is a Rhode Island band lead by singer-songwriter John McCauley III. The dirty folk, country and blues fusion with a grunge influence they perform has received high praise from the likes of Brooklyn Vegan and John Pareles of the New York Times. Partisan records recently re-released their debut War Elephant in November and are set to issue their next album Born on Flag Day later this year. Deer Tick is out now on a massive tour, most notably through our area with Jason Isbell and Phosporescent. They have also been putting together a documentary with director Cory W. Lovell titled "To the City of Sin!", filmed during their 2008 tour. Check out the trailer and single Long Time below.

mp3: Long Time (via Partisan Records email)

Deer Tick: To The City of Sin! TRAILER from indie outlaw on Vimeo.

2/23: York, PA @ First Cap *Free*
2/27: Philly @ World Cafe w/ Jason Isbell
3/01: DC @ 9:30 Club w/ Jason Isbell
3/27: Baltimore @ The G Spot w/ Phosporescent


Tasty Fruits: Pomegranates

Pomegranates are good for you. And so is the music sent forth by the Cincinnati based band that shares the fruits name. Set to release their sophomore album Everybody, Come Outside! April 14th on Lujo Records, they are currently on a month-long tour that will take them through the IA area the next couple of days before ending up in Austin for SXSW. Their first album Everything Is Alive grabbed the ear of many, including other bands like Islands and French Kicks who invited them on the road with them. Check out the single "Corriander" from the new album below. Sugary art-pop that is sweet to the ears. And be sure to check out their show whilst in the area.

2/23: Philly @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Mercury Radio and Western Dresses
2/24: Arlington @ IOTA w/ Tereu Tereu
2/26: Fredericksburg @ The Third Floor

mp3: Pomegranates - Corriander (via email)


Friday, February 20, 2009

The Local Weekend: Is It Spring Yet?

After some great weather and a holiday you either love or hate (damn you, St. Valentine!), winter is somehow still here. And since I got a new cable line wired into the apartment, so am I. Spring is just around the corner and bands are gearing up for the festival of festivals in Austin. Yes, SXSW is only a month away. So prepare yourself for a veritable onslaught of bands fine tuning their shows before heading down Texas way.


A few bands are having a party this weekend to introduce their new discs, so I am giving them first mention. Friday, DC Ping-Pong palace and pizza joint Comet Ping Pong is hosting Loose Lips and their release of the new EP Weighing Winter. Baltimore local favorite FFHH joins the celebration as does The Gagged.

Saturday, two bands, two new releases, two different cities. If you are in Philly, I highly recommend the show at Johnny Brenda's over all other in the city that night. Papertrigger, the local band that everyone must see live, is unleashing their new album. If you enjoyed the Riot Lovers EP, the new album Snake Sale, from the pieces I have heard, is just a continuation of the form and function that made the first EP a critics favorite. If that is not enough, the bearded force known as Pattern Is Movement is slated as an opener! And kicking it all off is the synthy pop of Whales & Cops, featuring former members of Man Man. Again, I restate: This is the show to see in Philly Saturday night!

Now the Rock & Roll Hotel in DC has quite the bill themselves for Saturday. The party is for The Known Unknowns and their self titled EP. The long absent The Roosevelt makes an appearance as the opener. Ra Ra Rasputin is a raucous rocking favorite and The Dance Party will just blow the roof off the place and maybe knock some walls down with it.

mp3: Loose Lips - download entire EP here
mp3: FFHH - The Body (via email from band)
mp3: Papertrigger - Move the Ground (via
mp3: Pattern Is Movement - Blanched and Threshed (via
mp3: Whales & Cops - Bosuns O the Yard(via High Two Records)
mp3: The Known Unknowns - Suggested Donation (via band website)
mp3: The Dance Party - A-list (via email from band)
mp3: The Roosevelt - Codeine Cure (via email from band)

A few big names are making multiple stops in the area. You can catch M. Ward (who knows is Zooey is anywhere nearby) three times this weekend if you play your cards right. Kicking off the weekend at XPN's Free at Noon, John Wesley Harding performs with M. Ward for a great lunch. The Troc then hosts M. Ward later that evening, this time with the Vivian Girls for a sold out show. Saturday, The Historic Sixth & I Synagogue is the venue for the same lineup.

mp3: M. Ward - Never Had Nobody Like You (via RCRDLBL)
mp3: Vivian Girls - Where Do You Run To (via RCRDLBL)

Since those playing the Free at Noon at the World Cafe are not sticking around for the evening shows, Kathleen Edwards steps in to fill the void with The Last Town Chorus. Sunday, you can catch them at The Birchmere.

mp3: Kathleen Edwards - In State (via artist website)
mp3: The Last Town Chorus - Oregon (via artist website)

Drive-By Truckers are back in the area with their brand of southern-fried rock. Head to the 9:30 Club Friday and Saturday for a double dip. Along for the ride is fellow Athens band Bloodkin.

mp3: Drive-By Truckers - Zip City (via band website)

La Strada and Deleted Scenes are making the trip along I-95 this weekend, starting at The Fire in Philly with openers Tongue Sculptures and Council Idaho, the hitting Talking Head in Baltimore for a show with locals Pianowire and Scary River.

mp3: Deleted Scenes - Turn To Sand (via band website)


Even with all those listed above, Friday is still packed with shows.

For something completely different, head to The Abbey @ ABC is Harrisburg for the eclectic sounds of The Two Man Gentlemen Band. Free show!

The Rosewood Thieves and North Lawrence Midnight Singers entertain the Khyber in Philly, while Olivia Mancini & The Terrible Two are joined by Meredith Bragg and No Second Troy for a great local show at the Black Cat in DC.

Baltimore hosts two shows. Talking Head has Mr. Moccasin with Travels, Ari Schenk and The Owls Go while Windup Space features Celebration, always known to give a great show. Opening are Lone Wolf and Ami Dang.

mp3: The Two Man Gentlemen Band - Fancy Beer (via email from band)
mp3: Olivia Mancini - This Kind of Life (stream)
mp3: No Second Troy - The Argonaut (via email from band)
mp3: Celebration - Evergreen (via Beggars Group USA)


It slows down just a touch for the remainder of the weekend. Just down the street from the show at Johnny Brenda's, the M Room is having great show of its own. Tim Fite is joined by DC artist Benjy Ferree and DeLeon (indie with a Spanish flair) for a more lo-fi, less raucous atmosphere. If you want the best of the singer-songwriter ilk, this is the place to be.

Baltimore is the place to be Saturday night, having a couple of shows worth your attention. Indie hip-hop is flourishing and Baltimore has always been a ground breaking scene. See locals Food for Animals at the Zodiac for the best of what Charm City has to offer. Over at the Metro Gallery, The Payola Reserve shares the stage with Lazlo Lee and Sik Sik Nation.

Philly closes the week with two show about two blocks apart. Johnny Brenda's is host to one of my favorites from 2008, Aderbat. Also on the bill is Obi Best and Caves of Mercury. Down at the M Room, Tigercity and Receiving the Ghost perform.

mp3: Tim Fite - Change of Heart entire album download (via artist website)
mp3: Benjy Ferree - Fear (via email from Domino Recording Company)
mp3: The Payola Reserve - Music Is Not Music (via email from band)
mp3: Sik Sik Nation - Lord Is My Gun (demo) (via link on myspace page)
mp3: Aderbat - Mastodon (via band website)
mp3: Tigercity - Are You Sensation (VHS or Beta mix) (via RCRDLBL)


Monday, February 09, 2009

The Local Week: Springtime A Little Early

Less than a week removed from some significant snow, the weather has turned spring-y. So no excuse about getting out to shows this week. Plus its a holiday weekend coming up, so start the party early.


Submarines (photo via bands Facebook)

Monday has two great shows, one in Philly and one in DC. Up at Johnny Brenda's, catch The Submarines. Oh, I know you know their music. Unless you live in a cave, you have seen an IPhone commercial. These are the guys behind that uber-poppy song playing in the background. Also on the bill are the Bay Area's The Morning Benders and New York pop-folk artist Dawn Landes.

mp3: The Submarines - Tour Single (zip file, via artists website)
mp3: The Morning Benders - 1940 (Submarines cover)(via RCRD.LBL)
mp3: Dawn Landes - Kids In A Play (via Daytrotter)

The Black Cat is hosting The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Their lastest EP contains less than fifteen minutes of music, but that is all the time you need to become a fan. Opening is The Depreciation Guild. Get there early for some shoe-gaze at its finest. Rounding out the bill are locals The Sugarplums.

mp3: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Everything With You (via Band's website)
mp3: The Depreciation Guild (Download zip of entire album or song by song)


The World Cafe in Philly has singer-songwriter Brett Dennen. You may have heard his music in shows like Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy. You can't help but notice the flaming red hair. And the slight rasp to his vocals belies his age, sounding more like an aging folkster from the 60s rather than the late 20s that he is.

mp3: Ain't No Reason (via RCRD.LBL)

The Black Cat is at it again, this time with a fine line-up of a couple a locals and a band from Brooklyn. Andy Zipf, Kaiser Cartel and Paul Michel are sure entertain.


Lot of action for the mid-week. The big show is Ben Folds at the McCarter Theater in Princeton. He is joined by Arizonans Miniature Tigers.

Lenka and The Spring Standards are showcased at DC9, while elsewhere in the District Rooftop Vigilantes, coming in from Kansas, perform at The Red & The Black.

Philly's Hoots & Hellmouth head south to the Rock & Roll Hotel to blow the roof off the joint with their revival-esque show. Along for the ride are The Jones and Petticoat Tea Room.

Up in Philly, The Khyber has Finding Fiction. Here's what Simon Beck has to say:
New York City’s Finding Fiction balances the ethereal with the melodic. The grit with the refined. It’s catchy, artistic, at times poppy, but always well crafted music. It’s contained chaos. Maniacally Poetic.
With them is the atmospheric sounds of Controlled Storms and the other worldly Lunch with Beardo.

For an all local line-up, get to the M Room for Filmstar, Adam Rose, Boy w/ Robot and The Green Trees Band.

mp3: Miniature Tigers - White Magic (via Modern Art Records)
mp3: The Spring Standards - Your Lie
mp3: Hoots & Hellmouth - You and All of Us (via Daytrotter)
mp3: Finding Fiction - Less Than Love (via Sonicbids)
mp3: Controlled Storms - Grace (via Sonicbids)
mp3: Lunch with Beardo - The Lunch Manifesto (via FDH Music)


Missed the Ben Folds show in Philly? No problem. Ram's Head Live in Baltimore has the same line-up as the Philly show the night before.

Two college towns, two great shows. The Terrace F Club in Princeton is hosting the ethereal music of High Places and Soft Circle. The Olde Club at Swarthmore College has a stellar gig with Los Campesinos! and Titus Andronicus.

Up at Johnny Brendas, join in welcoming back French Kicks to Philly. Also on stage is Ferraby Lionheart and locals Gildon Works. Just a few blocks down at the M Room, catch an ecletic show featuring Airports, Snakes Say Hiss, Neighborhood Choir and Anamanahuchi.

mp3: Titus Andronicus - My Time Outside the Womb (via RCRD.LBL)
mp3: French Kicks - Love in the Ruins (via Daytrotter)
mp3: Gildon Works - Artful Rifle
mp3: High Places - From Stardust to Sentience (via email from label)
mp3: Neighborhood Choir - She's Got A Friend (via band's website)


Friday, February 06, 2009

This Week's Mix

This week's mix features some regional flavor with Lotus (Philly) and U.S. Royalty (DC). This is the last weekend before Valentines Day, so here is a friendly reminder that concerts are always great dates for that special someone. They also work for finding a date or ignoring the whole holiday.

The Library - No Mercy, Only Violence
French Horn Rebellion - Up All Night
U.S. Royalty - Keep It Cool (Bo Flex remix)
Hot Challenge - Eyes Open
Broken Spindles - Introvert
Findlay Brown - Holding Back
Company of Thieves - Oscar Wilde
Lotus - Invincibility of Youth
Like Bells - Atlas
Lower Heaven - Knife

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