Monday, August 31, 2009

Photo Review: The Flaming Lips at Merriweather

Photos by Chrissy

A little band from Oklahoma dominated Merriweather Post Pavilion Friday night, littering Symphony Woods with confetti and pure joy. If you've ever seen the Flaming Lips live, you'd know that words are hardly the means for depicting their show. However, Chrissy's photo set above does the spectacle some justice.

The show began by the group walking out of a giant woman's ladyparts, and Wayne Coyne doing his signature hamster ball styled crowd surfing. All the staples were played, some of which were slowed down to maximize on the crowd's participation in singing along. A true feel good affair all around.

They rocked a pretty great setlist, that included some fresh tunes that will be found on their new album. Embryonic hits speakers and headphones October 13th via Warner, and based off the new stuff played Friday night one should expect a darker and even more psychedelic sound than past efforts.

I've been told that every Flaming Lips show is performed like they are playing their very last concert, never feeling like a routine. Friday night proved no different, and perhaps the band was in such good spirits due to visiting one of the areas best sushi spots beforehand, Sushi Sono. Whatever the case may be, the Flaming Lips are clearly one of the more consistently epic performers of our time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Future Islands: The Happiness of Being Twice

Future Islands just debuted their video for "The Happiness of Being Twice", one of the two fantastic A-sides off the Feathers and Hallways 7-inch. Here's the Chicago based director's take on the video, Joel Fernando:

"The video is a psychedelic hodgepodge of fantasy and color, featuring 65 + people from the Baltimore, New York City, Chicago and North Carolina areas, filmed one by one on green screen and combined together to appear as a group in this video."

Future Islands are currently at work on their next full length. They are heading out on a European tour in September, then back in Baltimore September 20th for a show at the Metro Gallery with Alexis Gideon, Shelley Short, and Nick Barna.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad's 8x10 Show Trailer

Disclaimer: As one should expect nothing less from the DMFS, the trailer above has some pretty inappropriate content. Headphones at work please folks.

As noted in our interview with the Hilltop Hightops, The Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad have a gig at the 8x10 this Saturday night. With a ton of options this weekend, choosing the show with its own trailer (above) seems like a good call. The show starts at 8 and tickets are 8 bucks. Attendees have a chance at winning a custom DMFS guitar!

Last Minute Giveaway: Summer Massive at Paradox

Steez Promo is throwing its Summer Massive this Saturday underneath Russel Street. As advertised, it will be rather large and takes place at the delightfully BYOB-welcomed Paradox.

This party features a ridiculous amount of things to dance to. The lineup includes Charles Feelgood, Dave Ralph, DJ Dara, Tittsworth, Future Rock, Benny page, Nigel Richards, Joe Nice, Hot Pink Delorean, Alex B (of Pnuma Trio), Swarm (Mason, Dstar, Armanni), We Don't Sleep (Messinian & Smash Gordon), Michael Myers, Kevin Focus, Odi, Bulla, Segway, Cannon Boys, Sonkin, RX vs
Shuggadadde, DJ 2RIP, & MCs Checkwun & Messinian.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $60 for VIP, and you can grab them here. Beat the Heat runs from 9 PM to 6 AM, on this Saturday, August 29. RSVP social network style here.

I have 2 pairs of tickets to give away for free courtesy of Steez. Winners must be picked by Friday, so email ASAP if you're interested.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tomorrow: Quartet Offensive Covers Pavement

Tomorrow night's show at the Ottobar boasts several reasons to attend, one of which is rather glaring. Local free jazz outfit Quartet Offensive will only be playing Pavement covers.

Covering Pavement traditionally is one thing, but translating Pavement's classics into jazz pieces is clearly a whole other thing entirely. The group will perform tracks taken from Wowee Zowee, Brighten the Corners, Terror Twilight, and Crooked Rain. I've also been promised that personal favorite "Flux = Rad" is on the menu.

If the Pavement covers don't entice you, Quartet Offensive's LP Carnivore most certainly should. Their debut album is filled with punked out off-kilter jazz, and is sure to be original and fresh to the ol' eardrums. With such a wide range of talent, these guys will certainly not disappoint tomorrow night either.

Headlining the show is Jerseyband. Yes, this is quite possibly the worst band name ever. But after a few initial listens, the genre that they claim to have created seems like a pretty accurate description. Jerseyband proclaims "Lungcore" as "A new genre that infuses a horn-driven band with heavy metal values". The idea does seem unique, and actually sounds as if it works pretty well.

Opening is Soul Cannon which features members of Quartet Offensive, and also Leisure Icons. This show is at 9 PM on Thursday night at the Ottobar, and will run you 8 bucks.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Mos Def and Talib Kweli at Sonar

The mighty Mos Def is taking victory laps for his best record in years, The Ecstatic. He'll be hitting the main stage at Sonar on Wednesday September 16th, and bringing with him an old pal.

Talib Kweli is joining him for this leg of the Ecstatic Tour. The only possible thing that could make this better is if it was dubbed the Black Star tour. Both have contributed to some of the best hip hop albums of our time, and Mos Def's newest LP is a sure sign he's still got it.

While his last couple albums were a bit more experimental, The Ecstatic gets back to what Mos does best. Politically and socially charged rhymes, killer beats, and some ridiculously stellar production. With beats ranging from Turkish psych samples to some samba styled funk, this one's got plenty of culture. "Life in Marvelous Times" finds Mos Def as epic as ever, painting a vivid landscape of Brooklyn in the early 80s.

With much thanks to Sonar, I've got some tickets to give away for this show and I strongly suggest you have at 'em. You can do so by simply emailing, and letting me know you're interested. I'll pick a winner at random a few days before the show, so be sure to check inboxes then.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The G: Hold My Gold

With a steady stream of fantastic lo-fi experimental pop and avant garde recordings, SHDWPLY has been a go to label over the past year or two. It's newest release is a bit of a change-up for the label, harnessing power from some of the early 90s' greatest forces.

Philly's The G, just dropped their first full length dubbed Hold My Gold via SHDWPLY. Packed with dirty rock and roll, this is one of the more easily accessible releases the label has produced.

No bells and whistles here, just straight up raunchy riffs and melodies that a make you want to chug some Jim Beam and ride Gravedigger into the night.

All monster truck comparisons aside, this Philly foursome would not be out of place if they were released on Merge back in 1992. With heavy guitars reminiscent of Carolina's early 90s output, think Superchunk or Polvo but maybe a whole lot drunker. Filtered through more modern fuzzes of punk and pop, the result is a sound that's catchy as hell.

While the rock is fantastically sloppy at times, tunes like "Behold a Pale Horse" are full of heart and help to round out the record's sound. This thirteen track LP comes highly recommended, and was limited to only 200 pressings. With a gritty silk-screened sleeve that's pictured above, I'd suggest picking it up.

Dudes are working on booking a show in the area, stay tuned for details on that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Interview: The Hilltop Hightops / DMFS

To most, the Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad's transition into the Hilltop Hightops was a no brainer. Everything about turning a song about homosexual relations into a children's track lecturing the dangers of experimental cooking called "Anchovy Pancakes" is just plain brilliant.

A steady riser in the 5 and under DIY scene, the Hilltop Hightops just dropped their debut. You can grab Super Galactic Space Banana right here, a must for your back to school recess soundtrack.

I recently had the pleasure of asking Professor Doktor Von Science aka Nikc Miller a few questions:

Bmore Music: Clearly the best band transformation ever, how’d it happen?

Nikc: A lot of people have told us that the Flute Squad is a lot of fun because we remind them of being a kid. Horsepower has this sort of superhero mystique. Also the songs are easy to remember cause of so many chants, crowd participation etc. Then Ryan (guitarist Father Ryan O’Graham) and Curtis (Bassist King Crispin) started writing the songs and I was really impressed with how well thought-out the new lyrics were. I kind of like the new versions better. At our first show tons of kids showed up and loved it. Playing for kids is cool. It’s like playing for a really rowdy drunken crowd of little people.

Bmore Music: “Juice Box Love”, the only true American love ballad?

Nikc: We’re no strangers to songs about food. The relationship between man and lunch is a serious one to consider even from an early age.

Bmore Music: Better performers, Raffi or Sharon, Lois and Bram?

Nikc: I really don’t know those guys. My favorite bands when I was a kid were Megadeth and Faith No More.

Bmore Music: Best DMFS --> Hilltop Hightops song transition?

Nikc: I would say “Anchovy Pancakes.” I won’t even say the name of the song it was originally from. It’s so obscene we decided to not even put it on “Die Humpin” We still play it at shows quite frequently however. It’s really popular with the gay/lesbian/bisexual community.

Bmore Music: More influential on Baltimore’s youth, Sheila Dixon or Hilltop Hightops?

Nikc: Geez, I hope it’s us, but she’s gotten around Baltimore a lot more. I think at this point Hilltop Hightops could make a song called “Don’t Be Like Sheila Dixon” and it would be pretty good for kids.

Bmore Music: Virgin Fest pre-party at the 8x10 next week?

Nikc: That’s gonna be nuts. We got invited to play at The 8x10 on 8/29 which is a huge deal to begin with. We found out that Flavor Flav was filming a new show called “The Next Great Hypeman” and we think our own Captain Mediocrity has what it takes. Everyone knows our history with reality TV so it totally makes sense. Plus Public Enemy’s gonna be in town for Virgin Free Fest. I really hope it goes well, but either way it will be a crazy night at the 8x10. Flav is a really nice guy.

We’re also giving away this really cool hand-painted Flute Squad guitar at The 8x10 that night. All you have to do is show up and say you came to see us. There will also be extra chances to win by ordering our special Flute Squad drink special. We thought it would make the night extra fun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photo Review: Dungen / Woods at the Ottobar

Photos by Chrissy

Swedish psych enthusiasts Dungen headlined the Ottobar last night, with the lo fi folk pop of Woods opening. Gawk at Chrissy's stellar photo set of both groups above.

Armed with with some pricey vintage equipment, Woods crooned and noodled their way through the set. Jeremy Earl's voice is just as distinct live as on record, a kind of high pitched Neil Young feel with some cave-like echo. The tracks were all elaborated on with some jams that mostly seemed to actually go somewhere. If anyone can explain the microphone attached to the dude's mouth working the pedals, do tell.

Dungen took the stage to a warm welcome, their first show ever in Baltimore. They seemed genuinely happy to have some fans in the Charm City, not at all a hop, skip and jump from Stockholm. They quickly dove into the set rocking out, only to sink back into a handful of more mellow piano based tunes along the likes of Love.

The set eventually eased back into some more upbeat standouts from Tio Bitar and Ta Det Lugnt, and likely didn't leave out anyone's favorite. Even Gustav Ejstes made a point to thank the Ottobar's sound engineer, as the mix of guitars, drums, keys, vocals and the occasional flute were spot on. Overall it was a pleasant Monday evening in Remington, and if these guys ever come around again I'd be sure not to miss them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lo Moda: Replica Watches

Gospel Store Front hit speakers via Creative Capitalism back in 2006. Three years later, Lo Moda have relinquished their second long player dubbed Replica Watches.

Lo Moda consists of a mish mash of local artists from various other creative outlets, which may have contributed to the longer break in recorded output from the group. Regardless, Replica Watches was completely worth the wait as it builds off all the strong suits of their debut.

The band has remained a purveyor of minimalistic post punk, throwing in influences ranging from soul to krautrock. But just as their sound draws from a deep pool, the simplistic and repetitive nature of tracks like "Real Real" and "Anonymous Cats" are what have always given Lo Moda their charm.

The hypnotic and almost cult-like feel give the urge to throw this one on repeat, and if Lo Moda was a cult I'd sure as hell drink the Kool Aid at their party any day. The new LP also boasts some more upbeat dynamics as well. "C.O.N.T.R.O.L. (Catch You Later)" sports one the catchiest organ loops I've heard since DJ Shadow's "Organ Donor", and makes for a great centerpiece.

Clocking in at almost an hour, Replica Watches is full of enough new handclaps and viola drones to hold us over until the next. Peep the video for "People Who Like Carolling" below, and be sure to check them out at Golden Westival this Friday night. Order the new LP physically or digitally here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dustin Wong: Seasons

Being part of both Ponytail and Ecstatic Sunshine have already cemented Dustin Wong as a staple of this town. Dustin's exuberant guitar work have made each of these fantastic bands possible, both thriving off the sheer joy that beckons from his ridiculously talented fingertips.

On his first solo effort, the same happiness is reached but with a bit of a different approach.

embodies a personal look into Dustin's ambitions, implementing recordings put together between 2002 and 2007 in his house. Other sounds fade here or there, but this record is mainly the chilled-out whirlings of his guitar.

With a handwritten letter explaining the process of the record on the back of the sleeve, it's clear that this is personal endeavor. The LP was recorded using his computer's internal microphone, while editing speed and phasing to get the desired sounds and effects. In fact due to the amount of layers and detail put into these works, performing them live would require 7-9 people.

A poorly heated residence is to blame for the seasons having such a heavy influence on this album. Feelings of warm, cold, frigid, and scorching are all present, much like his other output Ecstatic Sunshine. The digital confines of the CPU's internal mic are forgotten, as the layers provide a lush feel throughout each and every looping melody.

Order Seasons straight from Wildfire Wildfire, or head down to Soundgarden and grab it for $9.99 which includes a download card. You can catch Dustin in Ecstatic Sunshine at the Hexagon August 18th and/or with Ponytail at the Ottobar on September 25th.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Dungen / Woods at the Ottobar

Killer show next Monday the 17th at the Ottobar, as masters of psychedelics Dungen roll through Baltimore. Channeling some of the best psych projects to see the light of day from Sweden and beyond, this heavy hitter is a blast from the past and something new all the same.

2004's breakthrough Ta Det Lugnt landed them on the laps of music fans stateside, and was instantly recognized as an epic LP.

With Kieth Moon-like percussion, hazy pop-induced keys, and acid rock guitar riffs, most English speaking folk likely forget the lyrics are in Swedish about 2 minutes in. Hell, I'm pretty sure after approximately 197 listens of Ta Det Lugnt that I can speak fluent Swedish too. If this one's absent from your collection, gå köpa den nu!.

The band has since put out two other records, Tio Bitar and 4. Both of these are clearly worth your time, and continue to resurrect a timeless era making use of today's elements. The mastermind behind Dunjen, Gustav Ejstes, writes and records most of the tracks for their records, but generally tours with at least three other members.

Supporting Dungen is NY's Woods, whose Songs of Shame recently dropped via Woodsist. The new LP goes down easy, packed with smooth lo-fidelity folk pop. The majority of the record is easily accessible and likable, but a 9 minute venture of jammed-out noise with Magic Markers' Pete Nolan keeps you on your toes. Should make for a solid opener.

I've got a pair of tickets to give away, so no excuses for missing Dungen roll through our fair city. Send an email to, and consider yourself entered. I'll pick a winner the night before the show, check email then.

Click here to access the full song playlist

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Golden Westival Lineup

Everyone's favorite avenue watering hole is hosting quite the event next week. The Golden West presents Golden Westival and/or Golden Fest. Call it what you will, this a four night local music extravaganza of varying sorts.

The Golden West has been a popular workplace for artists, and this gathering aims to serve as a pretty bad ass employee talent show. A mere 20 bucks gets you in all four nights, or 6 dollars for each night. In addition to music, Braegen promises a theatrical performance and a science experiment.

Check out each night's lineup below:

Thursday 8/20/09
Crazy Dreams Band , Jana Hunter, Jones, Young & Rusty presents his Cocaine Sex Jams, Brian Adam Ant

Friday 8/21/09
Lo Moda, Ed schrader, Matrimonials, Necklace

Saturday 8/22/09
Mishaps , Cex, Old THUNDER HEART, Midnight Society, Zach Kaufman

Sunday 8/23/09
Pilgrim, Mickey Free, Child Bride, Macgregor Burns, Boner Jamz

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Get 'em Mamis: The Road to TerrAwesome

Originally catching all kinds of eyes after contributing their stellar "When You See Us" to the Wire's Beyond Hampsterdam soundtrack, The Get 'em Mamis are poised to catch some more attention.

Baltimore's female hip hop heavyweights are on the heels of releasing their first proper full length, aptly titled TerrAwesome. And if you checked out their latest mixtape, you'd know that "TerrAwesome" means somewhere between terrific and awesome.

Haven't peeped The Road to TerrAwesome yet? Head on over to the G.E.M's myspace for the link to a free download of all 16 tracks.

The mixtape boasts a ton of a material that should eventually see their more proper debut on the LP, many of which has been teased and given video treatment over the past year. Club hit "Cold Summer" bangs just as hard as it did a year ago, and the track from their latest video "Rock With Me" is also in full effect.

The tape is rounded out with remixes and freestyles, including choice cuts from their Madonna mixtape. Hearty from start to finish and with little to no filler, this should certainly tide us over until TerrAwesome sees its proper release. And if the road along the way is this good, the destination should be worth the trip.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Photos: Beach House and Celebration outside Metro Gallery

Photos by Chrissy

Just as I didn't need to tell you why you should go to Friday night's show with Beach House and Celebration put on by the Metro Gallery, I likely don't need to remind you how good it was. Above is Chrissy's photo set from the evening, and man did she absolutely kill it on this one. Beautiful shots from an all-around beautiful evening.

Beach House showed off some newer tunes back when they played with Vetiver, and did more of the same Friday night. The new album is in the works, and based off the the handful of fresh stuff played Alex and Victoria are looking to churn out another fantastic record. Backed with a drummer, Victoria's illustrious voice broke hearts and Alex's psychedelic swirls mesmerized.

Katrina Ford's stage presence has always been great, but she really took hold of the crowd for this one. Celebration played in front of a hot air balloon projected onto the white blocked pyramid, different from the images they projected at Whartscape. They were also armed with an arsenal of fantastic new tracks, some of which can be downloaded for free from their site.

Aural States has the audio from their "Billie Jean" collaboration available, and looks to have the whole set up soon compliments of the Baltimore Taper.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tonight: Beach House / Celebration

I'm pretty positive I don't need to tell you to head to the lot next to the Metro Gallery for an outdoor show with Beach House and Celebration tonight. With the weather looking almost as gorgeous as Victoria and Katrina's vocals, and talk of a collaborative set between the two hometown favorites, this one speaks for itself.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Kurt Vile / Espers / Lands and Peoples

Next week at Sonar some citizen's of brotherly love head south to come play in Baltimore. Kurt Vile and Espers headline the bill, supported by local risers Lands and Peoples.

If you haven't yet caught wind of the buzz behind Kurt Vile, this show's your chance. Dude just got signed to Matador, and already has a couple fine LP's under his belt.

Constant Hitmaker's
leading track "Freeway" ain't a bad place to start, highlighting Vile's knack for putting a modern fuzz on some nostalgic ideas. Bob Seger and Tom Petty, these are not typical names that get tossed around with a lo-fi bedroom project.

Espers are another Philly-based band, and are of the heavy folk variety. Winded behind the croons of Meg Baird, this group's got a couple fine releases via Drag City available. Opening is Lands and Peoples, who have gotten some well-deserved attention as of late. Fresh off their first tour and the release of their second EP, this homecoming should make for a feast of the ears.

The show is Tuesday, August 11 and I have a pair of tickets to give away. Send a proper hello to, and let me know you're interested. I'll pick a winner at random on Monday, so check your inbox the day before the show.

Photo by Sarah McKay

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Family: Sound Farm

Hazy free-flowing pop music via sampling has been quite plentiful over these last few years. However with this genre comes the good, the bad (a lot of it), and every now and then... the fantastic.

The other day, my inbox thankfully introduced me to a project in my own backyard. Happy Family seems to have contrived some of the best whatever-fidelity bedroom pop jams I've heard in awhile.

He just relinquished his debut, a four song EP titled Sound Farm. Lucky for all of us, he's made it available in its entirety as a free download. These four tracks boast promise of more great things to come, and are most certainly seasonally relevant.

Summertime generally brings sunshine and smiles, and the compact carnival-esque nature of EP opener "Cups" embodies just that. This track is free-spirited and bubbling, with layers upon layers of sounds. Capped off with warped Brian Wilson style melodies that are damn near impossible to hate on, this one's a must hear.

"Running in the Fields" is more like a day laying on the beach than a fairground ride. Layered synthetic waves slowly creep in and out, with bursts of sonics rich in texture. The last two tracks bring more of an experimental feel, as "Mindless Pleasures" starts off with a champer pop feel that erupts into a more lively romp.

You have absolutely no reason not to go download this, or at least stream "Cups" on his muxtape. Check back for more deets on Happy Family, including some videos.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tonight: The Octopus Project @ the Ottobar

The Octopus Project have primarily been an instrumental purveyor of pleasantly noisy electronic pop, but their new EP dabbles in the art of spoken language.

If you're worried the group's heavy use of theremin and xylophone in creating dreamy matrices of sound might be lost, peep the video for "Wet Gold" off of Golden Beds above. Still a bit skeptical? Stream the entire new EP for free right here, and be pleased to discover that the majority of the album is more like the Octopus Project you've come to know and love. Golden Beds is now out on California's Peek-a-Boo Records.

The Austin-based group hits the Ottobar tonight, with locals Seldon Plan, Light Trees, and A+ Gold Star. The show starts at 9 PM and will run ya 10 dollars.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Photo Review: Dan Deacon / Deerhunter / No Age Round Robin

Photos by Chrissy

Three of the biggest genre-leading projects in music today took Baltimore by storm Friday night. With a collaborative round robin style promised, anticipation and hype would have been glaring understatements.

Dan Deacon was in the back of Sonar, No Age took the floor on the side, and Deerhunter set up shop up on the main stage. When their collaborative set took off with all 3 bands playing simultaneously, PBR-induced waves of "Hell Yes" washed over the masses.

The euphoric noise hitting the crowd in a surround sound feel was the intro to Deerhunter's LP Cryptograms, and lead into them rocking the title track off their fantastic 2007 record. Bradford Cox and company sounded terrific all night, as tracks like "Nothing Ever Happened" swirled with faded pop bliss. These guys are easily one of the best live indie bands today.

Dan Deacon's last outing at Sonar was a bit of a debacle, but thankfully the crowd had no choice but to respect the synthed electronic genius with him being on a raised platform. Friday night was nothing but love, as the hometown crowd danced and surfed their way through his portions of the set. Familiar favorites were played, and he even took a stab at some Bromst material without the ensemble.

No Age sparked the rowdy type, with their noisey pop punk played nice and loud for the kids. While I lost a beer or two getting in the mix of things during their turns, certainly no complaints from my end. The evening rocked something for everyone, with never any moments of boredom. Despite a few glitches expected with the first night on a tour of this nature, each of the artist's efforts flowed seemlessly into the next one's. And at times, with the help of everyone.

This tour is sure to get its fair share of press, and I for one hope it helps to get the round robin style to become more of a trend. Forget the whole headlining hierarchy. This was just two dudes from L.A., a band from Atlanta, and someone who calls Baltimore their home, all playing music and loving it.