Friday, April 24, 2009

The Regional Weekend: Gonna Be A Hot One, Part I

Looks like a preview of summer is heading our way, with highs getting close to 90 in some places. The unexpected heat is not going to keep the weekend show line-up from happening. It's another full weekend, so I'm going to have to split it up into two posts. This one will cover Friday and those that also hit other places after Friday.

Kings of Leon
from band's myspace

Quite a few big name acts start things Friday and end up finishing the weekend elsewhere in the region. What would you rather have: Sons of a Preacher Man or a '90s flashback? If I could, I would see them both, but the scheduling makes that a little hard. Confused? This should clear it up.

The Followill boys of Kings of Leon are coming through the area with their arena tour. In support are another band that could headline their own tour, The Walkmen. The Patriot Center is host Friday, then Saturday you can catch one of the last remaining events at the storied Spectrum in Philly.

Three stops in the area for The Presidents of the United States of America. No, not some tour of Obama, the Bushes and Clinton rambling on about today's economic crisis. The band that brought you "Lump" and "Peaches" is back and prepared to send you reeling back to the mid-90s. Adding to the surreal is Oppenheimer, a synth heavy ultra-catchy pop band from Belfast. Caught these guys before, well worth getting there early/sticking around, depending on line-up. Friday they start at The Troc in Philly, then head to Lancaster, PA for a show at The Chameleon, then finish off Sunday in DC at 9:30 Club.

mp3: PUSA - Lump (via
mp3: Oppenheimer - Saturday Looks Bad To Me (via

Not really hitting both areas of the IA region, but playing two shows none-the-less is the hilarious Stephen Lynch. It is a great weekend to head to the shore, and he just happens to be at the Borgata in Atlantic City Friday and Saturday. Get some sun, play some tables and laugh your ass off.

mp3: Stephen Lynch - 3 Balloons (via

If the big names aren't enough for your Friday, there are plenty of one nighters to suit you.

If you are heading for the Stephen Lynch show, you may want to bump it to Saturday. The king of piano pop Ben Folds is slated for a Friday show at the House of Blues in AC. Just do what I mentioned above two days in a row. You can sleep it off Sunday.

Johnny Brenda's is hosting three guys from Suburban Home Records, each with their own set. Tim Barry, usually with Avail, is out supporting his folk album Rivanna Junction. Lots of story telling in these songs. Also on the bill are other troubadours, Austin Lucas and Josh Small. Solid show for those who enjoy the folk-country side of indie.

mp3: Tim Barry - Idle Idylist (via Suburban Home Records)
mp3: Austin Lucas - Somebody Loves You (via Suburban Home Records)
mp3: Josh Small - Move Your Hips (via Suburban Home Records)

Usually Kennett Square is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World and during the summer it smells to high heaven. Maybe they are trying to clean up their image. Now they have their own music venue, The Kennett Flash. They are hosting Delaware's The Spinto Band for a sold out XPN event.

mp3: The Spinto Band - Summer Grof (via band)

DC has a line-up worth seeing at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Florida's Copeland is joined by This Providence, Paper Route (new album out next week) and Brooke Waggoner. If locals are what you're looking for, hit the Black Cat for Bellflur, Cobra Collective, Bottles/Cans and Seamonsters.

mp3: Paper Route - Carousel (via Sneak Attack Media)
mp3: Bellflur - First to the Moon (via band)
mp3: Cobra Collective - Joe Goda (via band)
mp3: Bottles/Cans - Tabitha Calhoun (via band)

Baltimore is also getting in on the local flavor, mostly in support of out-of-towners. Action Painters is in the middle of an IA area swing for their new EP Lay That Cable, hitting Metro Gallery with locals The Courtesy Line and FFHH. Definitely worth a listen. Spectrum is bringing trance-rock to the masses after the fall of Spaceman 3. You can find them at Sonar with local favorite Pontiak, who are supporting a new album, Maker.

mp3: Action Painters - SuperMarket (via band)
mp3: FFHH - From the Shadows (via band)
mp3: Pontiak - Honey (via Thrill Jockey Records)

Philly also has the locals coming out to play. The Fire is hosting four bands worth checking out. Tres Bien is getting some great reviews about their live show. Joining them on stage are Philly's own Toy Soldiers, Hezekiah Jones and Sweetheart Parade. And over at my old stomping ground of the Millcreek Tavern check out Great Vibration with Vultures. And get to know the owner, Jack. Great guy.

mp3: Tres Bien - Liquid Love (via band website)
mp3: Hezekiah Jones - Nothings Bound (via band website)

More to come on Saturday and Sunday later.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Local Thursday: Prepping for the Weekend

After a few days off due to holidays, day trips and other things that have popped up, I am finally back on track and will give you some ideas for what to spend your time and money on Thursday and the coming weekend for auditory and visual entertainment. By the looks of the DC/Baltimore and Pennsylvania calendars, it is going to be another busy one.

(photo from bands myspace)

A couple of bands are hitting the area Thursday, then spreading the wealth to another city over the weekend. Scottish band Travis had been off the radar for a few years after they exploded on the scene in the late '90s. Now with a couple of releases in the past two years under their belts, it is time to reconquer the US one city at a time. Joining them on tour is KC's The Republic Tigers, an American band that pulls off the Brit-pop sound perfectly. Catch them in DC at the 9:30 Club Thursday. Those in Philly, head to the TLA for a Friday night show.

mp3: The Republic Tigers - Buildings & Mountains (via

Also doing the double-dip is Los Angeles artist Jeremy Jay. Taking the early '80s New Wave, a la Joy Division, and adding a few modern twists, he creates minimalist pop that will send you back in time (for those of us old enough to remember). The first show is Thursday at the Talking Head in Baltimore. As for openers, the frenetic, short but sweet songs of The Art Department and the garageish sound of Snowmen, both Baltimore bands. After a few nights in New York, Jeremy is back, this time at the Velvet Lounge with Exactly.

mp3: Jeremy Jay - We Were There (via
mp3: The Art Department - Julia I Can't Run Anymore (via

Everybody else hitting the area tonight is doing one off shows. Here are some highlights:

Two Southern bands join up with a New Yorker for a must-see show (IMO). Athens' Modern Skirts is joined by Chapel Hill's The Old Ceremony. Add into the mix NYC's Wakey! Wakey! and you got one stellar line-up. Sorry Philly, you gotta travel for this one. They are at the Black Cat in DC.

mp3: Modern Skirts - Soft Pedals (via
mp3: Wakey! Wakey! - Get Away (via band website)

More local flavor for your musical palate, Baltimore's Ponytail is heading down the Beltway to hit up DC9. They are supported by locals Imperial China and The Gagged.

mp3: Ponytail - Celebrate the Body Electric (via Pitchfork)
mp3: Imperial China - There Is No Translation (via band)

The Fire in Philly has a great line-up to check out. Speck Mountain out of Chicago takes the stage with Shayfer James and Jersey's Dinner & a Suit.

mp3: Speck Mountain - I Feel Eternal (via Green Light Go Publicity)

Elsewhere, DC's The Red & The Black hosts The Everyday Visuals, now with a fresh Daytrotter session and the Junior League is at Fletchers in Baltimore.

mp3: The Everyday Visuals - Boom Boom Boom (via Daytrotter)
mp3: Junior League - The Station (via band)

And be sure to hit up the calendars for more info about who is playing where and when.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Release The CDs!

A couple of local favorites that we cover regularly are dropping new discs Friday night, unfortunately not in the same place.

Harrisburg, PA's Abbey at ABC is the scene for one of the best local line-ups south central PA has seen in a very long time. Pure classic wall of sound style '80s pop is what Hershey's The April Skies are all about. Together since something like 1988, this is their 3rd full-length album since 2005 and their first since late 2006. Don't expect all new stuff though. They always break out the favorites and the occasional cover. (Their version of "A Forest" is stellar). 

A CD release party by the Skies is great, but adding in the other two bands on the bill makes this an all out raucous throw down. Middle Distance Runner has been getting some national play in a Harley ad and thanks to a loyal reader, they let us know they have been using "Out of Here" in a commercial on KTLA for their evening news. Yeah, its voiced over and just instrumental, but DC is getting play in LA. They just released a new 7" back in March and a new album is on the way. And yeah, they kick ass live. 

Also known to give it all they got on stage are Chambersburg's The Shackletons. Can't make it Friday night? Saturday, drop the Skies and add Philly's Drink Up Buttercup for another not to be missed local line-up at The Fire in Philly.

mp3: The April Skies - Punch Drunk Messiah (via band)
mp3: Middle Distance Runner - Brother John (via band)
mp3: The Shackeltons - Your Movement (via band)
mp3: Drink Up Buttercup - Lovers Play Dead (via

Middle Distance Runner "The Unbeliever" from maxwell sorensen on Vimeo.

Down in Fredericksburg, VA, The Library is hosting the CD release party for Tereu Tereu and their new disc All That Keeps Us Together. Check out some of their new tracks here. And get there early for fellow Virginians Carlos I'm Pregnant and The Like Whatevers. This show is all ages!

mp3: Tereu Tereu - Don't Be Sore Farmer John (via band)

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Friday, April 03, 2009

The Local Weekend: Another Stacked One

After last week's trifecta of musical information, this weekend is a welcome respite. Not as heavy, but still plenty to check out. Got big plans this weekend, so I am keeping it somewhat brief. Check out our exhaustive calendars (DC, Philly) for other shows.

Black Kids
(photo via band myspace)

Speaking of my plans, join me Friday at the Troc in Philly's Chinatown for a great line-up. Florida's Black Kids are back in town. If you haven't heard, they received many best-ofs for 2008. Also on the bill is husband and wife duo Mates of State. Keyboard and drum kit pop at its best. Set to open is Jacksonville's Sunbears. Can't make it to the Philly show? No problem. Saturday, same people, this time the 9:30 Club hosts.

mp3: Mates of State - My Only Offer (via Barsuk Records)

Of course, the weekend alway kicks off at the XPN Free at Noon. This week it features The Felice Brothers and musical legend Marianne Faithful. Her career has spanned four decades and is still going strong. This woman is a legend, see her if you can.

mp3: The Felice Brothers - Run Chicken Run (via

Looking for a '90s alternative flashback? Friday at the 9:30 and Saturday at Johnny Brendas (early shows, 6:00 and 6:30 are posted times), former buzz bin band Superdrag is back. They also just dropped a new album. As Tall As Lions, who meld various genres from a multitude of eras, are set to open.

mp3: Superdrag - Sucked Out (via
mp3: As Tall As Lions - I Lost My Mind (via

SubPop artist Obits is hitting the area twice, Friday in Baltimore at Ottobar then Sunday in the District at Black Cat. Each show has a different set of supporting acts. In Baltimore you can catch locals Sick Weapons and Sal Bando, the DC show has The Points.

mp3: Obits - Pine On (via Subpop)

If you dig the French pop scene, then you are in luck. Sebastian Tellier is playing two shows in the area this weekend. Playing the late show at the 9:30 on Friday with Lemonade, then he heads up to Philly's Starlight Ballroom for a Saturday show.

mp3: Sebastian Tellier - Sexual Sportswear (Donovan Remix) (via
mp3: Lemonade - Sunchips (via

Freak folk, lo-fi noise pop, avant-garde. Those are just a few of the descriptions for Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti. And joining them for the two shows in the region is Vivian Girls. Friday, they are playing Johnny Brenda's with Tickley Feather. Then they hit Baltimore and Ottobar up on Saturday with The Flying Eyes, Deep Sleep and Head Home.

mp3: Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti - Helen (via
mp3: Vivian Girls - Tell The World (via
mp3: Tickley Feather - Tonight is the Night (via


For Friday, two huge musicians, one local and one former punker play separate venues in the Philly area. Local artist Amos Lee has gained quite a following and has toured with acts such as Dylan, Elvis Costello and Merle Haggard. You can catch him at the McCarter Theater in Princeton. Bob Mould is best know for his days in Husker Du and Sugar, but he has also made a name for himself with his solo work. Head to the North Star to see a legend in action. Also on the bill is local artist Andrew Lipke.

Deer Tick has been all over the area for the past few weeks. This time he is at the Olde Club at Swarthmore College Friday. And by the looks at his schedule, he will be back in the near future.

mp3: Deer Tick - Long Time (via Partisan Records)

Wham City artist Dan Deacon is playing a sold out show at the First Unitarian Church in Philly. Along for the ride are fellow Baltimore bands Teeth Mountain and Future Islands. This is sure to be a raucous show.

mp3: Dan Deacon - Big Big Big Big Big (via band website)
mp3: Future Islands - Old Friend (via band website)


The master of funk/blues/soul/hip-hop fusion, G. Love is in Atlantic City playing the Borgata. So make a day of it Saturday. Great weather, the beach and a little Special Sauce.

Singer-songwriter extraordinaire Ray Lamontagne is in town Saturday for a show at the Tower Theater.

A couple of CD releases of note happening this Saturday and both are in Baltimore. The Metro Gallery is hosting the party for Pianowire, while the G Spot has the second release party for Impossible Hair. Also on that bill is Title Tracks, featuring former Georgie James member John Davis.

And on a down note, the Matt & Kim show for Saturday at The Barbary in Philly has been canceled.

So much more I did not cover, be sure to check out the calendars for the rest.