Monday, June 29, 2009

Quartet Offensive: Carnivore

A year or so in the making, Quartet Offensive offer some familiar faces, but some not so traditional tunes. Their debut record Carnivore officially drops next month.

The nasty upright bass skills of Peabody graduate Adam Hopkins have poured out of varying outlets around town. John Dierker has played with the likes of Lafayette Gilchrist and Microkingdom. And the beats and guitar derive from Nathan Ellman-Bell and Matt Frazao of the hip hop outfit Soul Cannon.

Together, they've constructed Carnivore. The album is a journey into the free jazz world, with plenty of rock along the way. Dierker's reeds often dictate where a song might head, but once the crew is in full swing there's no telling where you'll end up.

Tracks like "The M.B.S." begin in control with Frazao's riffs blending seamlessly with the woodwinds. But once the beats get off rhythm, spacey sonic landscapes take over and unwind into a beautiful commotion. Carnivore is one of the more interesting local releases so far this year, as these guys should be at the top of your lists of artists to check out.

The record will be relinquished on Friday July 10th, with a CD release party being held at the Windup Space. You can also check them out at the aforementioned festival Exotic Hypnotic on July 18th.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tonight: Eagle and Talon

I admittedly don't know a ton about Eagle and Talon, but I've heard comparisons to the Breeders which is enough for me. A first listen shows off some super catchy post punk that ain't too shabby.

Another tidbit of info I'm good for, they are offering their new full length Thracian for free on their website. The offer only lasts until July 1, an apparent ode to Canada Day. They are from LA, but lets just go with it for now.

Eagle and Talon are playing tonight at the Hexagon with Werewolves at 9 PM.

Artscape: Exotic Hypnotic

One of the events coordinated for this year's Artscape is shaping up to be pretty great. Exotic Hypnotic is a three day mini festival within Artscape curated by the people that bring us the fantastically off-kilter High Zero festival every year.

It takes place July 17-19 at the University of Baltimore Performing Arts Theater. The event sports a truly eclectic and unique lineup. Avant garde might take the forefront, but the pop-minded individuals are not forgotten. Some of the highlights include Weekends, Lo Moda, Quartet Offensive, Cex, Childe Bride, Il Culo, and a ton more. The local jazz legend Lafayette Gilchrist will be playing solo piano on Sunday.

A few names I didn't recognize certainly caught my eye. The Multiphonic Choir will play on Friday and provide the sounds of a "5 saxaphone hybrid Fela Kuti with German electronic music". And the "Indian classical meets contemporary electronics" of Calusari will play Sunday afternoon. Count me in.

This is part of Artscape, so tickets are zero dollars.


To the man whose music was probably the first I popped in the cassette deck, and danced in front of the mirror to...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Whartscape 2009 Lineup (Updated)

Aural States got the full scoop today, and Wham City now has the official details posted. Here are the basics.

This year one day passes are 18 bucks and a full festival MEGA pass is 45. The Mega pass guarantees access to every event, which is important considering the night events at Load of Fun are first come first serve AFTER Mega pass holders get in. Load of Fun is small.

There will only be 300 mega passes sold. Mega pass and individual tickets will be sold via Wham City's site on June 29th at noon. Shows will take place at the MICA art studio lot, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and Load of Fun from July 10-12.

But more importantly, the music. There are over 130 bands playing:

Adventure, Air Waves, AK Slaughter, Alexis Gideon, Allen Cordell, Ami Dang, Andy Abelow, Annex Theater, Art Department, At the End of Infinite Rope, Bad Brilliance, Barky, BDRM PPL, Beast Master, Bedlam Theatre, Big Bear, Bird Names, Black Vatican, Blood Baby, Blue Leader, Boogie Border, Butt Stomach, C Spencer Yeh, Cars Will Burn, Celebration, Chandeliers, Charlotte and Joe, Child Bite, Child Bride, Clarissa Gregory, Cliff Evans, Connor Kizer and Adam Endres, Crazy Dreams Band, The Creepers, Dan Deacon Ensemble, Dan Higgs, DDMMYYYY, Despot, DJ Dog Dick, Dope Body, Double Dagger, Drip House, Eagle Ager, Ear Pwr, Ed Schrader, Eric Hnatow, Funny Clown, Future Islands, Gary War, GDFX, Golden Birthday, Grasslung, Hair Police, Height, Hooliganship, Human Host, Infinity Window, Jana Hunter, Janitor, Jared Paolini, Jason Willett, Jimmy Joe Roche, John Eaton, John Weiss, Justin Frye Meat Wallet Bells Pieces, Killer Whales, Kokomo, Leprechaun Catering, Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, Little Howlin Wolf, Liturgy, Living Things, Lizz King, Lo Moda, Lonnie Walker, Lord Scrumage, Magnet City Kids, Mark Brown, Married in Berdichev, Mason Ross, Melissa Moore, Meredith Moore, Mickey Free, Milton Melvin Croissant III, Mincemeat or 10speed, MNDR, Narwalz, Nate Boyce, Nautical Almanac, Needle Gun, Noble Lake, Nuclear Power Pants, Olaf Breuning, Peter Glantz, Pleasant Livers, Plural MC, Polygons, Ponytail, Quiet Hooves, R.M. O'Brien, Rap Dragons, Romo Roto, Rotten Milk Band, Santa Dads, Schwarz, Sewn Leather, Seyjano, Shams, Showbeast, Sick Weapons, Silk Flowers, Small Sur, Smartgrowth, Smarts, So Percussion, Soft Pink Truth, Something by Dina Kelberman, Spellcaster, Talk Normal, Team Robespierre, Teen Girl Fantasy, Teeth Mountain, Thank You, The Creepers, The Degenerettes, The New Flesh, The Title Sounded Better in French (Lola/Anna), The Woes, Trockeneisis, Truth Serum, Twin Stumps, Videohippos, Vincent Black Shadow, Weekends, What Cheer Brigade Marching Band, Witch Hat, Wolf Eyes, Wye Oak, Y2KEITH, Yoshi Sodeoka, Zomes, Bands We Forgot!, And More!

Got that?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Celebration: "Open Your Heart"

A new card has been dealt by Celebration, as their Electric Tarot project keeps on rolling. This is the third installment in their effort to release free MP3s of songs as they write and record them via their own website.

"Open Your Heart" shows off the more subtle side of Katrina's voice, and her ability to flex her pipes even when the song is more relaxed. Paired with ghostly harmonies and some organ action, the track's infectious melody grows upon each listen. "Open Your Heart" is just another beautifully atmospheric track under the band's belt.

Looks like Celebration have some more tunes ready to share, but have been limited by technology. Katrina Ford also stated she would be happy to make fans a CD if they sent her a CDR, and would even provide some "purty" art.

The psychedelic video for the track can be viewed above, and and be sure to hit up their site for the free download of all three tracks so far. The songs are also now available as FLAC files as well. Stay tuned for some upcoming East Coast shows from the band.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Photo Review: Spank Rock and the Black Lips at Sonar

Photos by Chrissy

Friday's show at Sonar had all the ingredients for a beautiful disaster. My after work happy hour may limit the details of the night, but fun was had and music was played.

The best recalled news of the evening had to be the fact that Spank Rock mentioned he was working on a new album. It's been since 2006 since we've seen a full length from him. He put on a fun show, and the crowd seemed way more into him and Ninjasonik than the headliners.

The highlight of the night had to be Johnny Siera of the Deathset showing face. They all rocked "Negative Thinking" together, a song that only people without a soul don't get amped for. I also recall a Matt & Kim jam being played, pretty sure it was "Daylight". Spank Rock and Ninjasonik seemed to dig poppy east coast electro punk, but still repped their own brand of hip hop pretty solid.

The Black Lips were alright. They played what most would want to hear, including personal favorite "O Katrina!". But, the band just didn't seem that into it. There also appeared to be some tension on stage, as someone I was with noticed a couple of the members fighting with each other in between songs. Either way, the performance was a bit forgettable and was certainly without any of the antics that used to be a part of their shtick. Perhaps this is why the band seemed so bored.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lean Horse Marathon: "Drowning Sun"

New stuff from local project Lean Horse Marathon is coming our way. The new album, Up on Bomber Mountain, is set to be released as a free download.

Dropping via Rack and Ruin, look for the full length sometime next month. Rack and Ruin is an interesting non-profit record label based in the Netherlands, and has a bunch of other artists worth your while.

As for Baltimore's Lean Horse Marathon, the first taste off the new LP is below. A perfect accompaniment for the hazy early days of summer, this jam bubbles along with plenty of warm fuzz that's sure to lift spirits. Click below to stream "Drowning Sun", and check back for more deets on this one.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tonight: Spank Rock and the Black Lips

I've already gabbed about tonight's show at Sonar and gave away two pairs of tickets, but this isn't one to sleep on. One contest winner has been spit on by a member of the Black Lips, and will be back for more! If that's not love, then I don't know what is.

Spank Rock will be performing with Ninjasonik. Philly's PoPo will open, and are the latest bands to sign with Mad Decent. And the Black Lips, who recently did a Daytrotter session for your downloading pleasure, sometimes spit on people. See you there!

Ticket Giveaway: Ween

Ween, in all their erratically grand glory, are set to play Baltimore next month. Lucky for you, I have a pair of tickets to give away for their show at Rams Head on Thursday July 16.

Masters of genres aplenty, Ween have kicked out heaps of pop songs drenched in prog and psych of all shapes and sizes. With titles ranging from "Pink Eye (On My Leg)" to "Touch My Tooter", poetic isn't the first phrase that comes to mind.

Gene and Dean's lyrics are heartfelt at times, but mostly just ludicrous. Either way they both sport some serious chops, and put on a killer live show worth checking out.

Hey there fancypants, let me know if you want a free pair of tickets. Send an email to, and I'll pick a winner a week before the show.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Major Lazer In-Store Appearance

Major Lazer's surf-ragga carnival of an album dropped this week on Mad Decent. Gunz Don't Kill People, Lazer's Do is the perfect accompaniment to any latenight dancehall cartoon warzone, which almost actually makes sense coming from the never boring minds of Diplo and Switch.

The two DJ's are amidst a summer tour, rocking the "Lazer Theme" and fighting bad guys the world over. They head across the pond in August.

Major Lazer is in town this weekend, playing the Rock and Roll Hotel Saturday night. They will also be doing an in-store appearance at Soundgarden at 6 P.M. on Saturday.

This will be part of Vinyl Saturday, another attempt by the people who brought you Record Store Day (which looks to be Warner Brothers?). This designated day to buy records at independant record stores, sponsored by a major label, is a chance to get limited edition vinyl only released that day. In addition to all that hoopla, Soundgarden will have in copies of Major Lazer's LP on vinyl.

And, don't forget to peep one of the most entertaining music videos of the year so far.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Double Dagger Video

Double Dagger debuted their new video for "Vivre Sans Temps Mort" off their already instant classic More. The clip features stop motion footage and model car destruction.

Catch Double Dagger down in DC tonight for a free show, before they head off on a national tour supporting More. The show is at Crooked Beat and starts at 7 PM.

Ticket Giveaway: Rock the Bells at Merriweather

I have a pair of tickets to give away to Rock the Bells at Merriweather next month. Rock the Bells has quickly become the biggest hip hop tour each year, and it goes down Sunday July 12 in Columbia.

This year the tour boasts The Roots, Big Boi, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek, Rza, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, and a ton more.

Probably a bit more hip hop than James Rouse had ever planned for Symphony Woods, attendees will be sure to get their fix of late 90's rap gems. Spanning the genre's past to present, the legend that is KRS-One is hosting the affair.

A bunch of these artist help to reminisce of a time when the Orioles had a chance. I want to know what your favorite rap song of the 90's was. To submit your contest entry, send an email to and let me know. The contest ends July 6th. Be sure to sample some of the festival's goods below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Future Islands: Feathers and Hallways

With their debut full length dropping last year, this is the first heard recorded material from Future Islands this year. This 7 inch is a welcome introduction to their catalog, and could quite possibly be the best one-two punch we'll hear from any band in 2009.

Feathers and Hallways come at us via the UK label Upset the Rythym, on glorious heavy duty white vinyl. With no designated B side, its easy to see why the band had an issue deciding on the lead track. But if forced to choose, "Pinnochio" is yet another example of the trio's keen ability to craft ridiculously catchy and meaningful pop songs.

While the synths are typically at the forefront of their tracks, the vocals aim for the center of attention of these two pieces. Sam's epically entertaining voice beckons through just like his fantastically grand showmanship does at live shows. If this is a look into what the new LP will bring, the band is perched to solidify top reigns in it's niche for upbeat tracks about finding yourself.

Future Islands have a full length in the works that should see the light sometime this year. Head over to their myspace to stream "Pinnochio", or head here to order the new disc online. Soundgarden also has copies, but jump on it because these two tracks won't be part of the upcoming LP.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Show Review: Dan Deacon at Sonar

Special guest reviewer and contest winner Matt Weinschenk was there to take in all the action Saturday night. Here's his take on the multi-faceted event:

On Saturday, Sonar hosted Taxlo’s Summer Blowout with a fully loaded line-up including Dan Deacon, Black Dice, Thieves Like Us, Martyn, Scottie B, Get ‘Em Mamis, Booman, DAT Politics and more.

Michigan-based Awesome Color opened. With driving drums that never took a breath (in a good way), they sounded like The Stooges with some experimental effects thrown on top. The only downside was that they only had time for four songs.

Next was DAT Politics and were, for me, the pleasant surprise of the night. Their synth and vocodor-rich Euro-dance energy got the crowd moving with a set long enough for front woman Claude Pailliot to induce a healthy case of woman-rocking-on-stage-syndrome in most men in the crowd. A great deal of fun all around.

After that, it was Black Dice. They were too loud. I know that sounds ridiculous, but someone cranked it up about 5 notches after DAT Politics left and went for a drink. At any point, half the crowd was holding their ears. A healthy stream of people headed out and I actually saw 2 friends arguing over the one set of earplugs they had. It’s a shame, because it was too loud to listen to the subtleties of Black Dice’s electric experimental noise punk. So before you rag on me for being too old, ask someone who was there.

Finally, Dan Deacon took the stage, or at least the floor in front of the stage as usual. His recent Bromst tour featured a full 14-piece live band. Now he’s solo and played a few Bromst tracks on his traditional equipment, meaning we won’t be deprived of Bromst in future shows. Deacon had a few problems with crowd control, including "Crystal Cat" cut short by a crowd member jostling his electronics.

Hopefully his rising popularity won’t force him to switch to a traditional performance too soon. Dan Deacon certainly didn’t disappoint, with a high-energy set and a group interpretative dance to top it off.

My only regret is missing the Get ‘Em Mamis. My friend may have accidentally bought them a round of Patron shots. (It was definitely G.E.M., but who paid for the shots is still unclear.) Either way, they were having enough fun in the crowd that their show makes the “can’t miss” list for next time.

Don't forget to check out Chrissy's fantastic photo set of the event right here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Photos: Dan Deacon / Black Dice / DAT Politics

Photos by Chrissy

Peep the ridiculous visuals from Dan Deacon's show last night, and check back for some words on the affair later. Also included in the set are Black Dice and DAT Politics.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Whartscape 2009 In The Works...

This year's Whartscape will take place in a month, spanning July 9th to the 12th. Tickets will be on sale soon for your purchasing pleasure.

The only band confirmed to be playing as of yet is Double Dagger on the 12th, which was announced as part of their national tour this summer.

I understand that I just provided you with little to no information, but thats all I got now. Check back for more details soon, or find something more informative to read.

Tonight: Ghislain Poirier and Daedelus

Tonight Taxlo's got a nice double header going at Sonar with Ghislain Poirier and Daedelus soundtracking the party. Both Ninja Tune imprints take over the club stage, with guests James Nasty and Andrew Jaye.

Montreal's Ghislain Poirier has been making waves for sometime now, remixing all your favorites and putting together six albums that have always been backed with some choice underground support. Snatch up his remix for Major Lazer's "Hold the Line" right here, and be sure to peep his video for "Hit & Red" below.

Daedelus is another staple of the game, an L.A. hip hop producer originally known for his showtunes-esque samples and custom light show. Dude has since rounded out his music selection, and should not be slept on tonight.

In case you forgot, Taxlo's next big event is this Saturday. With Dan Deacon at the helm and a whole slew of other great acts, this should be one of the biggest events of the summer. Tickets are still available, so get 'em while ya can.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Show Review:
TV on the Radio and The Dirty Projectors

Last night the force that is TV on the Radio began a 2 night sold out stint at the 930 Club. Always used to a warm reception in the area, Monday night wasn't any different.

Dave Longstreth's Dirty Projectors opened up the affair, a band I had caught a few days ago across from the Charles at Rufustival. Similar sets were played at both events, as their brand of infectious experimental pop proved worthy of recent attention. What I thought to be a handy editing job on the production of Bitte Orca, proved otherwise. The fast paced bursting vocal harmonies of Haley and Amber on several tracks reigned true live. Certainly a band worth checking out next go around.

TV on the Radio geared up last night for a big show this weekend, as they are slotted to play before David Byrne at Bonnaroo. A band that is able to acclimate to any type of venue, the big yet almost intimate feel of the 930 Club was yet another perfect compliment to their sound.

Tunde bounced around with great enthusiasm, while the rest of the crew hit every note with emphasis as each song boomed in grand fashion. The highlight had to be Celebration's Katrina Ford joining the band for an amped up version of "Staring at the Sun". I couldn't help hoping that they'd help her out with one of Celebration's fantastic new tracks. Maybe next time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Audio To Go: Jana Hunter 6/2/09

Last Tuesday's Cass McCombs and Jana Hunter bill at the Metro Gallery proved to be a pleasant way to spend your week night. Both artists put on stellar sets, jam packed with new tunes. Not sure if the comedian lodged in between performances was repping new jokes as well, but he sure did a fine job of sending out the awkward vibes.

Jana Hunter's new tunes have shown much promise for any future effort in the works, and her band seemed as tight as ever last week. While most of the new tracks don't stray too far away from her prior work, Jana's infused a bit more pop in her sound. You can hear for yourself, as Jeff was there to record the action. Download the MP3s or FLAC files from Jeff right here, and note his prediction for favorite set of the year.

Bonus: Jeff also has the Arbouretum set from the Creative Alliance last week available.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca

It would be pretty tough to be in the Bmore/DC metro area this weekend and not hear someone mention the Dirty Projectors. Not only are they one of the many highlights of tomorrow's RUFUSTIVAL, the avant pop band opens for TV on the Radio Monday and Tuesday at the 930 Club.

Oh, and lets not forget their eagerly anticipated first release with Domino, which drops this Tuesday June 9th. Dave Longstreth is the mastermind behind the Dirty Projectors. Dude has already created an album full of re-hashed Black Flag covers written from memory, and a concept album focusing on Don Henley.

Bitte Orca leaves behind the concepts. Instead, it brings forth the band's knack for spanning a multitude of genres and styles with surprisingly little confusion. "Stillness is the Move" wouldn't be entirely out of place if heard on an R&B radio station, but still boasts experimental configurations not found on your old Boyz II Men tape. "Useful Chamber" is a standout that swanks pop melodies which effortlessly warp into infectiously spazzed out moments, all layered over hip hop beats.

This is by far the band's most accessible album, and almost makes you wonder why they conistently get dubbed an "acquired taste". Sure, there's plenty of avant garde notions. But Bitte Orca is simply a fantastic pop record at its core.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wye Oak: The Knot

When Wye Oak's second album popped up in my inbox last week, excitement immediately ensued. If you have been lucky enough to catch one of their shows in the past year, you had a good idea of how awesome this record was going to be.

Expectations will be met all around, as The Knot is one of the most beautiful albums to drop this year.

This will be the duo's second release with Merge, and is slated to hit shelves July 21st. Andy and Jenn have toured heavily leading up to the recording of this album, allowing the new songs to have a solid environment to properly form and tighten.

This process seems to have worked flawlessly, as The Knot boasts track after track of epic landscape and haunting grandeur. The duo's keen ability to create noise has always been a strong suit. But the crisp walls of sound that hit you on songs like "For Prayer" and "Take It In" are well beyond stimulating. "Mary is Mary" highlights the group's knack for subtle detail, flowing dark eloquence as the album's 7 minute centerpiece.

Can't hold out until the album's released in July? Wye Oak are set to play RUFUSTIVAL this Saturday. Tickets are still available at Brown Paper Tickets. Wye Oak are slotted to play right before the Dirty Projectors, right around 7:30 PM. See you there.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Arbouretum at Creative Alliance

Baltimore's best doom folk outfit has had a busy first half of the year. Their third full length dubbed Song of the Pearl dropped back in March, and shame on you if you've slacked on taking a listen.

Song of the Pearl is Arbouretum's most grandiose affair, and the band is set to head out on one of their biggest tours ever. They are playing a June tour with Band of Horses, that includes a sold out show at Carnegie Hall. However, a much more intimate gig is set to happen tomorrow night at the Creative Alliance.

This show is an acoustic performance, and features help from Philly's Meg Baird. Also helping out will be Dave Hadley on pedal steel and Walker Teret on upright bass. The Violet Hour are opening the evening at 8:30. Show is 10 bucks, with free popcorn!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Premiere Hotspot of Medford, NJ

Chances are you've heard that Dan Deacon will be touring with Deerhunter and No Age this summer. Turns out the tour will be a week long and starts August 1st.

There is also the good chance that you have never heard of any of the venues being played that week.

For us boh-drinking folk, looks like the closest spot to catch this will be the first night which takes place at the Flying W Airport and Pool of Medford, New Jersey. Yup.

The uber sweet plane shaped pool is pictured above, and seems to be the main attraction at this South Jersey resort. With the tour being played out round robin style, I propose Deerhunter set up on the left wing, No Age on the right wing, and Dan Deacon on the tail of the aircraft.

Best pool party at an airport ever.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tomorrow: Cass McCombs and Jana Hunter

Not too many better ways to spend your Tuesday evening than soaking up the croons of Cass McCombs and Jana Hunter. Both will be gushing new tunes galore, with Cass McCombs right on the cusp of releasing his new album.

Domino releases Catacombs tomorrow everywhere but here, as it's official U.S. release isn't until July 7th. All signs point to Catacombs reaching back to the simple yet undefineable sounds of A, more or less folk pop with a dark twist. Cass's nomadic behavior portrays his three albums varying styles, an evolution of a timless sound that might have reached it's defining point.

Tomorrow night should be a solid look into the top notch songwriter's new tunes, and the same should reign true for the opener Jana Hunter. I caught Jana open up for Papercuts a few weeks back, and the set was chock full of new stuff. All were promising builds off the sure and sturdy sounds of There's No Home, and were very well accentuated by her backing drummer and bassist.

This one starts at 8 at the Metro Gallery, with the cover being $10. And here's to hoping that Cass will be bringing some fresh copies of Catacombs to share with us.