Friday, July 31, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Gang Gang Dance at the Ottobar

The Ottobar has a whole slew of great shows in the works, one of which features Gang Gang Dance coming to town. The NY-based crew hits the Ottobar Wednesday August 5th.

Gang Gang Dance have been pumping out records drenched in a tribal dance haze over the years, with the most recent being Saint Dymphna. While their latest might be the best received, their prior works are certainly worth your ears.

God's Money
illustrates ideas of splintered dub and deconstructed sonic landscapes. The primal percussive waves break way to heavy bass and otherworldly vocals, providing a truly unique and addicting record.

Schizophrenic in the good way, this could quite possibly be the works of some sort of future primitive Native American tribe. Whatever the case, it's hard to turn off.

Gang Gang Dance should prove to be an excellent way to spend your Wednesday evening. I've got a pair of tickets to give away, just shoot an email on over to I'll pick a winner Tuesday the 4th, so be sure to check the 'ol electronic mailbox then folks.

The rest of the bill includes another NYC group Hex Message, and some local flavors still in the works. I'll keep ya posted when things become official.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weekends: Suburban Dome

It's summer. It's friggin' hot. Sounds like the perfect time for some new Weekends jams. The new EP is called Suburban Dome, and features 4 brand new tracks from the duo.

I mentioned a couple of these tracks a few weeks ago, as they rocked two of them at Whartscape. These new songs had me running over to the merch table in hopes of physical gratification. Fortunately, four bucks granted me this satisfaction.

Weekend's strong suit is creating incredibly catchy guitar riffs, which is surprisingly sometimes a breath of fresh air these days. Drenched in pure rock and roll, look no further than the 11 tracks of their debut for examples.

Suburban Dome isn't a step in any new direction, but an affirmation that these guys are for real. "Raingirls", has to be the best song in their very young catalog. Impossible to stand still to, this is the rowdy summer-soaked rock song we've all been waiting for.

Opening track "Roomate" is a steady psych garage track demanded to be played loud, and boasts a seemingly epic feel. The vocals are still nice and fuzzy on this EP, but the distortion sounds as if to be taken down a slight notch. This allows it to feel more like their live performance, a setting in which the duo is best served.

You can catch Brendan and Adam play the Talking Head this Sunday August 2nd. Headlining is Heavy Hands, also with another local favorite Sri Aurobindo.

Photos: Black Moth Super Rainbow at the Ottobar

Photos by Chrissy

Peep Chrissy's photo set above of Black Moth Super Rainbow's animated performance at the Ottobar this week. Don't forget to check out Eating Us, their stellar new album.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lands and Peoples: Bad Habits

Baltimore's own Lands and Peoples just released a new 5 song EP. The trio are now 2 extended players deep, with the new one sporting some vocals and hopefully a peak into to what's to come.

"Bad Habits" is a fantastic little number, that fans of Beach House and other dream-filled pop surely won't be disappointed with. Caleb's vocals are warm and filling, while the bass-heavy keys keep a welcoming and addicting trance.

Stream "Bad Habits" below, and purchase the entire EP from their bandcamp site for just $5. You can catch them at the Hexagon this Friday, or opening up for recent Matador imprint Kurt Vile and Philly's Espers August 11th at Sonar.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: The Flaming Lips at Merriweather

Yes indeed, the Flaming Lips are descending upon the suburban Maryland woods of Merriweather Post Pavillion this summer. They headline the amphitheater August 28th, with Explosions in the Sky teaming up the bill.

Do I even need to describe the 20-plus years of psychedelic space rock the Flaming Lips have provided? Probably not. The band is on the verge of releasing their new LP Embryonic, a double disc that promises to leave nothing out. Head over to Pasta Prima to download "Convinced of the Hex" and "Silver Trembling Hands", two fantastic new tracks from the upcoming record.

Those who have seen Wayne Coyne roll around the crowd in his giant hamster ball are aware that these guys spare no expense when putting on a live show. And a tour in preparation of releasing one of their most ambitious works in almost 30 years of records is certainly cause for some elaborate theatrics. Confetti, fireworks, Wayne Coyne teleporting before your very eyes... anything is fair game folks.

Explosions in the Sky have completely mastered post-rock. This Austin based instrumental group are a truly cinematic experience, with rock and roll journey's that build to epic highs and emotional lows. A pretty much perfect accoutrement to spending your late summer Friday evening in the Merriweather lawn with some cold beverages.

This show is clearly a not-miss, and I have a free pair of passes to give away to a lucky reader. Email your plea to if you are interested in the tickets. I'll pick a winner on August 17th, so be sure to check your inbox then.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tonight: Black Moth Super Rainbow @ the Ottobar

The Ottobar's got a solid Monday night affair, with Black Moth Super Rainbow rolling into town. Fans of fuzzy experimental synths of all shapes and beats shall rejoice.

Music with an oddball organic feel, bubbly rhythms are often accompanied by free-wheeling bass, keys and flutes. The band has put out four full lengths and various other releases, including a stellar joint LP with The Octopus Project.

Their most recent, Eating Us, is easily their most accessible to date. Eating Us could be considered their pop album, but don't expect a hit single to be released off it anytime soon. Much like it's predecessor Dandelion Gum, the new LP sports a positive feel with melodies soaked in sunshine. The acoustic accents are polished up a bit, as instrumentation seems to be used more the old fashioned way than in previous efforts. Peep the video for opening track "Born on the Day the Sun Didn't Rise" above.

Parts and Labor front man and rising solo artist Dan Friel will open, rounding out a great way to spend your Monday evening. Show is at the Ottobar and starts at 9.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Live MP3s: Half Japanese / Double Dagger / Baby Venom

The Baltimore Taper was more than kind enough to hook us up with the audio from last night's behemoth of a lineup at the Ottobar. Below, grab the sets in MP3 or FLAC form from Half Japanese, Double Dagger, and Baby Venom. Enjoy!

*These were up for a month, and were taken down by Jeff.
Double Dagger 7/24/09 @ the Ottobar recorded by Jeff
Link to MP3 Files
Link to FLAC Files

Half Japanese 7/24/09 @ the Ottobar recorded by Jeff
Link to MP3 Files
Link to FLAC Files

Baby Venom 7/24/09 @ the Ottobar recorded by Jeff
Link to MP3 Files
Link to FLAC Files

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Dan Deacon / Deerhunter / No Age

Oh man. This one week tour was announced a couple months back, originally not plotted to roll through these here parts. Surpise! Just announced last weekend, next Friday Sonar welcomes the Dan Deacon/Deerhunter/No Age Round Robin to Baltimore.

This one is an ADD-friendly, round robin style setup, with the artists circling the crowd and taking turns doing their thing. Also promised are collaborative performances, offering a chance to catch one of a kind joint ventures likely to never be seen again. So if you've ever wondered what Deacon's electronics sound like jamming out to "Nothing Ever Happened", or how Bradford Cox's vocals might spruce up "Ripped Knees", this could be your night.

This is only hitting a few select east coast-ish cities, including a stop the next day in New Jersey at a hotel with a giant pool shaped as an airplane. That show's got a pool party, we get something even better. One ticket gets you into all three rooms that night, including the Taxlo dance party and the Talking Head.

The Talking Head has a superb lineup with Future Islands, Sick Weapons, The Art Department, and Love or Perish. I've already gabbed about how sick three of these bands were at Whartscape, and Future Islands just put out an absolutely stellar double a-side 7 inch called Feathers and Hallways. If you feel like dancing, the club room's got Dave Nada, Cullen Stalin, and Simon Phoenix.

You officially have no excuse not to be there, mainly becuase there's something for everyone. And also, because I am giving away a pair of tickets. Blast an email to, letting me know who you want to see the most that night. I'll pick a winner at random next week, and get their name on the list. Be sure to check your email Thursday morning the 30th to see if you've won. See you there!

Caleb Stine: Eyes So Strong and Clean

Baltimore's musical playground is home to all kinds of thoughts and sounds. When the concrete landscape of the inner city feels to be closing in, most turn to local country ambassador Caleb Stine.

Caleb Stine has just released his first solo record, after already putting out one with the Brakemen and one with local rapper Saleem. Eyes So Strong and Clean is his most fulfilling release to date. The songwriting is at the forefront, telling stories of self inspiration in an always hectic world.

While this album is heavily steeped in the rootsy Americana we've come to expect, there's a hefty amount of rock and roll involved. Caleb Stine credits his new guitar for this, an Epiphone Dot with Burstberry pickups. His wistful acoustic tones are still present throughout, but jams like "Rome" and "Right Where It Is" are beefed up a bit.

But, the highlight of this record is his true and natural craft of folk songs. Paired up with his distinctive southern croon, this is modern country at its best. His vocals are crisper than ever, putting any Kenny Chesney or Tim McGraw-type to utter shame.

Most can relate to his tales of boozing and relationship woes, classic folk themes that are even familiar when stuck in traffic on Lombard. When illustrating his touring and travels, its easy to imagine being along for the ride. If you've been needing to fill a void in your country music catalog since Ryan Adams started to suck, Caleb Stine is your man.

You can catch him play at the Golden West this Sunday the 26th. The show is at 10, and also features These United States and Paul Masson.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Half Japanese / Double Dagger

This one is a no-brainer. Not a weak spot on the list, Friday night the Ottobar features Half Japanese, Double Dagger, Baby Venom, and Yukon. Woah.

This fantastic bill is headed by one of the founders of off-kilter punk, Half Japanese. Since forming in the 70s, the band has been a revolving door of members and sounds. All have been surpassed by originator, Jad Fair. Baltimore's Jason Willet, of Leprechaun Catering, Pleasant Livers, and True Vine fame, was also once a member of the the band.

Double Dagger need little introduction. If you missed their pavement melting performance at Whartscape, this show's a must. Nolan and crew are back home from their tour supporting More, and will be happy to scream in your face with excitement.

The math rocked spasms of Yukon are another welcome addition to the evening. Be sure to grab their more than hearty Medallion EP if you haven't already done so. And I've gushed my love for the synthy lo-fi pop of Baby Venom before. With a recent European tour and gig opening for Deerhunter, this is a trio on the verge of explosion.

I have a pair of tickets to give away for Friday's show at the Ottobar. Send a word or two to for your shot at them. I'll be picking a winner Friday morning, so be sure to check your electronic mailbox then.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bear & Pieces: Rooples : Query

Baltimore's Lost Ghosts Records is home to a few lesser known endeavors, most of which are certainly worth your while. Heavy on art and personal touch, the tunes ain't too shabby either.

If you didn't catch the label's release show at the Zodiac a few weeks back, chances are you've missed out on some pretty fantastic artists. Bear & Pieces has put out a plethora of limited-run releases, and is the focal point of Lost Ghosts. Chris Day is the entirety of Bear & Pieces, and also a member of Witch Hat.

Chris's solo project is full of swirling melodies, ambient bedroom soundscapes at their purest. With looping guitar churns that fade in and out, rich layers are often dwarfed by blissful simplicity. While diving into Wisdom Has No Gaurd and the digital "Allison" single are recommended, Rooples : Query portrays his work in a very appealing light.

This disc is highly limited with only 30 pressings available, and features three hefty tracks from the late summer of 2007. One might assume Chris utilized the common practice of laptop editing, a standard with most lo fi bedroom artists these days. But, Rooples : Query is amazingly all recorded straight to tape. This provides just enough sunny analog fuzz, and leaves the work to bare all of it's natural essence.

These tracks are highly recommended when in need of some heavy zoning out, and are the perfect accomplice to any need for late night inspiration. The sound bites mixed into his other works are enjoyable, particularly when the "sky falls" on Wisdom Has No Guard. But the stripped down nature of this release is truly hypnotic, and quite beautiful.

You can find some of the Bear & Pieces releases as free downloads over at the Lost Ghosts blog, including a recording of his set opening up for Ponytail at Floristee in 2008. Splurging the five bucks for any of these albums is an obvious choice, and do be sure to check out some of their other fine artists.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Photo Review: Ween at Rams Head

Photos by Chrissy

This review was tag teamed by eager and excited Ween newbie Mike Caggeso and resident Ween veteran Matt Weinschenk. Photos by the always talented Chrissy.

My brief indoctrination of Ween going into this consisted of listening to seminal album “Chocolate & Cheese” and their hilarious Pizza Hut jingles. I expected a heavy, groovy dirge dripping with something goofy – be it a lyric or a wanky riff. Like, really wanky.

Ween delivered exactly that, but a hundred times over. Ween not only plays its own flavor of everything between metal and country, but they wear a shit-eating grin all the while. I couldn’t help but laugh after every stewy tune, but the kind of chuckle after hearing a well-crafted, well-executed joke.

Credit that to the band’s quarter-century experience. The drum fills thundering under twin guitar solos in “Buckingham Green” were fucking glorious. And Gene Ween is a resilient vocalist – channeling the high pitch of Rush’s Geddy Lee then belting out low, deep groans at the drop of a hat.

Two hours and 40 minutes later, the band wrapped a set list that would make a Guided By Voices fan shudder. It didn’t take long to get Ween, but the sheer ferocity of their live shows makes leads me to think Ween is more accessible live than via your speakers.

Ween has openly stated that they get road weary on tour and after Gene Ween’s health problems cause him to cancel much of his GeneWeen Band tour, I was worried they may not be at the top of their game. But, they certainly delivered last night at Rams Head.

Because of Ween’s genre-hopping style and oddball lyrics, they often get demoted to a “novelty” band, for lack of a better term. But live performances show how hard they rock… they just have fun doing it.

They played a wide-ranging set-list from
GodWeenSatan: The Oneness tunes all the way up to Quebec. At audience request, they played a quick rendition of “Boy’s Club” even though Dean claimed, “We played it once live… And it sucked.” They followed it with my favorite live Ween song, “Buckingham Green,” which is so great in person my non-Ween acquainted friend immediately asked the name of it.

Drummer Claude Coleman amazes me every time, they always pick a killer set-list, and they always deliver on the energy. If you only know Ween from “Push the Little Daisies”, you’ll have a new respect for them if you catch their next show.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photo Review: Whartscape 2009 Day Two

Photos by Valerie

Oh, Whartscape. I've already shared my love for Friday and Sunday's happenings, and alas we now have a ton of visuals for Saturday. Day two in the MICA parking lot was more than solid, with a wide array of sounds and vibes.

I stumbled up just in time for The Art Department, a band that I've yet to check out live. Their songs left me confused, as I knew they were played all wrong yet I was oddly attracted to them. Their knack for creating quirky pop songs backwards and upside down was truly unique, leaving me repulsed yet wanting more all at once.

Weekends rocked from the pavement, playing right in the middle of the early crowd as they prefer. One of Baltimore's best new bands, they sounded as tight as ever surely winning over some new fans. Sporting some new songs called "Roomate" and "Raingirls", I was pleasantly surprised that these new jams were readily available in CDR form. The new EP is called Suburban Dome, and it comes highly recommended.

The Woes bluesy New Orleans style rock were a welcome surprise, as was the marching band shenanigans of the What Cheer! Brigade. This was a full on marching band that completely stormed Station North, leaving nothing but dancing Whartscapers in their wake. Certainly a new twist on the collegiate sport genre, and a whole mess of fun.

Sick Weapons were fantastic and rocked pretty hard, almost as hard as Vincent Black Shadow. These guys completely leveled the crowd, scorching from all angles with their brand of psychedelic punk metal. Vincent Black Shadow completely ripped it, leaving you feeling all kinds of rowdy and wanting more. A stellar addition to the lineup.

This concludes our Whartscape 2009 coverage. Much thanks to Wham City for putting together such an awesome event, and here's hoping for many more years to come.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Photos: Handsome Furs at the Ottobar

Photos by Valerie

Amidst all of the other fantastic commotion last weekend, the Handsome Furs played the Ottobar Saturday night. Above is the photo set from what I'm told was a pretty great show by the Sub Pop husband and wife duo.

Their new album Face Control was a much more upbeat step in the right direction for the Montreal outfit, and it looks like they are having some fun with it. The banter toward the crowd was said to be goofy and fun, and of course the tunes on point.

Review: The Dead Weather & Screaming Females

Photo Credit:
Jimmy's Cell Phone

Fans of Jack White are well aware that it's probably a good idea to follow him into whatever endeavor he chooses. His latest project, The Dead Weather, is no exception.

Their debut album, Horehound, was released Tuesday, a day in which they also played night two of a sold out stint at the 930 Club. Fans of one of the greatest guitarist of our time ascended upon Northwest D.C., to see him play drums.

Yes, Jack White is the drummer of The Dead Weather. But fear not, Dean Fertita can rip it, Jack Lawrence is a solid bassist, and man oh man... Alison Mosshart.

While Jack White was the object of the audience's affection, Alison Mosshart surely turned heads. She twisted and wailed her way throught the set, seeming as if locking eyes might be the death of any spectator. Jaws dropped and hearts were broken. She was a fantastic entertainer, and had quite the set of pipes.

The supergroup headlined an incredible evening, sounding louder and crisper than any other performance I've witnessed at the 930 Club. The foursome grinded out an hour's worth of some of Jack White's most reckless bluesy garage rock jams. The man of the hour even gave up his drums for a chance at guitar, thus filling the hopes of the masses.

New Jersey's Screaming Females opened, and I for one couldn't think of a better trio for the job. Only consisting of one female, the name still suits them, as she has the power of about 20 females. Marissa Paternoster shreds the guitar harder than Kyle Boller used to hit the ground. She bent the guitar in ways I never thought possible, and produced a fury of sound that made every solo an adventure to look forward to. She can sing to, all coming complete in a package that couldn't have been any taller than five feet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review: Rock the Bells 2009

Please welcome special guest reviewer and avid hip hop fan, Jason Tomassini, for his take on Sunday's Rock the Bells.

If there was one thing to take away from Rock the Bells at Merriweather yesterday, it's that Wu Tang Clan is, indeed, not something to fuck with. And for that matter, neither is the slew of early 90s rap veterans that joined Wu members in the name of "real hip-hop" at the annual summer rap smorgasbord.

If you're not sure what real hip hop actually is, almost everyone at RTB would like you to believe it's them. Talib Kweli, Common, Big Boi, The Roots, Busta Rhymes, Nas -- one-by-one on the main stage, they all extolled the virtues of their own authenticity, as opposed to the new school of half-singing, half-rapping, always-Polo-sweatering, post Kanye Auto-tuners who the OGs believe are ruining the game.

It's a rift that's been growing in hip-hop for a minute now, but Jay-Z's recent "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" track has seemingly given old-school rappers the go-ahead to bash the new whippersnappers in broad daylight.

KRS-One called out Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy and laughed when he asked the crowd if they wanted to see Kanye West on next year's Rock the Bells and they all booed.

And in possibly the most overt defense of "real hip hop," Wu Tang member Inspectah Deck -- during a cameo on the second stage to join Raekwon for riot-inciting versions of Wu classics "C.R.E.A.M." and "Triumph" -- absolutely punked Joe Budden, who had played on the same stage just minutes before. Budden, a part Slaughterhouse, a new rap "super" group (as super as you consider talented, but B-list rappers, Royce Da 5-9, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I to be), has been in a minor feud with fellow Wu Tang-er Method Man. So from the original rap supergroup to one that surely doesn't belong, Inspectah told Budden in no uncertain terms, to go fuck himself. And the crowd, even though they had given a nice ovation to Slaughterhouse when they played the second stage minutes before, ate it up.

Raekwon's set, despite being relegated to the second stage, was the best of the day, but few tunes you've heard on the radio in the past three months... or years.

Common played an amazing set, including classics like "I Used to Love H.E.R." and a killer freestyle over Be closer "It's Your World," but played one song from his past two albums, thankfully so because they are atrocious. Busta Rhymes ran through abbreviated versions of at least 15 of his hits with veteran swagger that had a sun/weed/beer soaked crowd hyped, but only one off an album that he released last month. Headliner Nas, in absence of last-minute cancellation Damian Marley, played about half of his masterpiece, Illmatic, even enlisting surprise appearances from AZ, Styles P and Pharoah Monche. But he too pandered to the nostalgic crowd, playing only one song each from his past two albums.

And in one of most exhilirating moments I've ever seen at a rap concert, M.O.P. played their firestarter "Ante Up" causing an actual mosh pit of about 20 amped dudes at 4 p.m. outside the second stage. But, the 2001 hit was the most recent song they played.

Not that I'm complaining, the day featured at least 20 bona fide, all-time hip hop classics, but judging by RTB, "real hip hop" may just be a code term for "old hip hop." And with it becoming harder and harder for rappers not named Lil Wayne or Kanye to make any actual money from record sales, you also have to wonder if these hip hop legends don't stop living off their 90s classics, whether RTB will become a sort of touring hip-hop museum. A place where fans can go to wile out to the hits from their childhood and where "real hip hop" artists are insulated from the "real hip hop" industry. But only until the haze of smoke clears and everyone is bumping T-Pain in the parking lot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photo Review: Whartscape 2009 Day Three

Photos by Chrissy

This year's Whartscape was nearly impossible for one entity to swallow in its entirety, and the third day certainly put the exclamation point on an action-packed weekend.

Above, Chrissy captured nearly 100 shots of the majority of the bands playing in the MICA lot, and not without bubbles, relay races, and slow dances! The weather remained beautiful and worries of interferences of any kind did not dare to cross anyone's mind. This year's Whartscape was extremely well run all around, and much thanks to Wham City for all of their hard work.

Early in the day, Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez showed off a wide array of promising new tunes that bubbled and crooned their way through the hot mid day sun. Zomes provided a very chill and transcendent set of looped out melodies. And, Santa Dads provided smiles to all as they beatboxed and trumpeted their way through a pretty laid back set.

As the sun began to fade behind the brick wall, excitement began to soak through the crowd. After Gary War's solid set, Future Islands took the stage. Synth pop bliss immediately ensued, as the trio tore through a set well balanced with joyful anthems and heartfelt ballads. Sam is a true showman, as he poured out his heart and soul throughout the entire performance. Bubbles were blown, and dancing was contagious.

As most would expect, Double Dagger absolutely killed. Fresh off their national tour in support of More, it was clear that they were a bit amped to be back on their home turf. Nolan began the set with a slow dance to "Vivre Sans Temps Mort" and ended it with crowd surfing to my personal favorite "Half-Life". Inflatable drums were tossed into the crowd, much softer than the real one thrown last year. Nothing but good vibes all around, as these guys rocked just as hard as ever.

Dan Deacon put everything he had into Whartscape 2009, and one would expect nothing less from his performance Sunday night. Performing with his ensemble, the crowd somehow seemed to double in size. With group interpretive dances leading onto North Ave, a new song, and a relay race, this performance was nothing short of legendary.

Happy faces were worn proudly by everyone present, and the crowd even seemed to actually abide this time when Dan suggested everyone dance more up and down rather than sideways. Not to mention the ensemble sounded fantastic, a seemingly difficult task when working with that many talents onstage.

Stay tuned for photos this week from Day two (Saturday) of Whartscape 2009.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Photos: Whartscape 2009 Day One

Photos by Chrissy

Be prepared to be bombarded with photos from all three days of what was a pretty fantastic Whartscape 2009. Above is the photo set from the first day, and if you missed the performances outside the BMA due to work like me, be sure to check out Jeff's recordings over at Beatbots.

Friday night's seated show inside the BMA's auditorium was a great way to get things rolling. There was some pretty hilarious comedy, mind-frying videos, and some stellar musical performances. The legend that is Dan Higgs put on a capivating all vocal performance, and Brooklyn's So Percussion boggled brains with their mesmerizing and electrifying percussive entourage.

But the night was capped off with perfection, with Celebration taking the stage as a six piece. Starting off with some old stuff, but quickly getting into new material, the band filled the room with atmospherical rock gems that never age in beauty. The new songs sounded great live, and they played at least one that hasn't yet been released on their site. Katrina Ford's voice sounded amazing as usual, and it was good to see the majority of the crowd getting out of their seats and coming up to the front of the auditorium.

Stayed tuned for a ton of visuals and thoughts from days two and three of Whartscape.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mixtape: Happy Whartscape 2009!

With about 29 different artists, this playlist only represents 20% of the bands playing.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Photos: Locrian at the Talking Head

Photos by Chrissy

The only way to describe last night's performance by Chicago's Locrian, is intense. In all senses of the word, this set was surely not for the faint of heart.

With more fog than I've pretty much ever seen used, Andre and Terence tore through a journey of sonic metal drudgery. Locrian started with blasting noise which lead down to a quiter synth, only to be overtaken by some hefty guitar riffs, that eventually took off like a helicopter. Definiltey take a listen to their most recent release, Drenched Lands.

I unfortunately couldn't hang around for the awesome noisey punk of the New Flesh, but check out some shots of them opening for Double Dagger here. Also, they'll be playing Whartscape on Saturday in the MICA parking lot next to Joe Squared.

Handsome Furs at the Ottobar

Need a break from Whartscape this weekend? Didn't get a megapass to get you into LOF? Need somewhere to scurry off to after Ponytail kills it? Head north up Howard Street to the Ottobar.

Montreal's Handsome Furs will be gracing Remington with their presence.

Fresh off the release of their second full length with Sub Pop, this husband/wife duo should serve as a pretty fantastic alternative to all the other madness this weekend.

Dan Boeckner, the husband, is the more reasonable voice of the indie mega group Wolf Parade. It's not that Spencer Krug's medieval croons are unreasonable. It's just that when combined, Boeckner's verses come off as the more balancing voice of rationale. However, both sport some seriously intrigueing pipes and side projects.

Describing the Handsome Furs as Wolf Parade with dance beats instead of live drums wouldn't be completely ludicrous. The duo sports soulful vocals and heartfelt lyrics, as Dan Boeckner's songwriting is yet again the highlight of their most recent release Face Control. Their newest LP includes many of the fantastic and quirky choruses that Boeckner began to master on his other band's Apologies to the Queen Mary.

The new album is also far more dynamic than their previous effort, with the rhythms and beats being far more varied. Though, Face Control focuses on the simplistic much like it's predecessor Plague Park. Blending more smoothly with some stellar guitarmanship, the drum machine sounds much more at home on this affair.

Not sure what to expect from their live show, but based off their two LPs this one seems worth the trip. The show is on Saturday at the Ottobar. Doors are at 9 PM and tickets can be purchased here for 10 bucks.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Random Whartscape Spotlight: Gary War

This year's Whartscape mostly focuses on artists from around the 'hood, but also welcomes those from round yonder as well. Gary War fits the yonder category with perfection, as his origin seems to go unknown.

Permanent residence or not, Gary War is a ridiculously busy entity. Dude's got a bunch of tapes and vinyl already released with Shdwply and Sacred Bones, and more on the way with Woodsist.

It seems apparent that his nomadic behavior reigns true in both physical space and aural recordings. His debut full length dropped on Shdwply last year, titled New Raytheonport. Completely drenched in lo fidelity neo-pop, this LP was one of my favorite releases of last year that for the most part went completely overlooked.

Ariel Pink helped produce New Raytheonport, and it's incredibly easy to tell. Like Pink, Gary War's ability to write psychedelic dream-tone jams seems to flow effortlessly. This collection of synthy lounge tunes is truly unique, and feels as if it could have come out of three different decades...all at once.

You can download the album for free or buy it (recommended) over at his blog, along with a bunch of other releases of his. Gary War plays Whartscape during the day on Sunday at the MICA parking lot.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tonight: Ganglians at the Golden West

Head to the Avenue tonight to hit up an evening of bubbly psychedelic folk pop from Woodsist imprint Ganglians. One of the many hyped lo-fi artists resonating from the NYC label, Ganglians are a glaring highlight of the bunch.

As much I hate to play the often used Beach Boys comparison card, I have to. Monster Head Room just has way too many Smile-esque qualities going for it. It's not just the vocal harmonies of "Voodoo" that help to reminisce, the LP is packed with loopy and subtle sound effects often resembling the psyched out works of Smile.

Ganglians are playing tonight at the Golden West, with Jana Hunter and Adam Endres DJing the affair. Show starts at 10 PM and tickets are just five bucks.

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Rye Rye Video: Bang

Rye Rye has grown up pretty quick, and is clearly poised to blow up completely. Being the first artist signed to MIA's label N.E.E.T., this eighteen year old Baltimore resident will likely be banging the world over in the coming months.

"Bang" was the first heard taste from the debut LP, and is now the first video for the upcoming album. With a beat that even your grandmother would tap her feet to, it's no surprise that the video features all kinds of folks getting down.

The neon glowing dance party takes place underneath Russel Street at Paradox. The locally flavored moves are set to a much more dimly lit setting than the daytime fountain dancing of "Shake it to the Ground", a song that is also produced by Blaqstarr.

The video is directed by MIA, and Rye Rye's debut release date is still TBA.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Third Annual Baltimore Rap Round Robin

What better way to start celebrating your country's independence than being bombarded by the entirety of Baltimore's most interesting rap acts.

The third annual All Rap Round Robin goes down this Friday at Load of Fun. The event features nine acts of the most unique left field blends of hip hop our fair city has to offer. This year's lineup, which will come at you rapid-fire round robin style, includes:

Food For Animals
AK Slaughter
King Rhythym
Mickey Free
The Plural MC
PT Burn 'Em
Rap Dragons

Jones just dropped his debut solo full length, titled Jones Jones Jones. You can snag the MP3s for free right here, or go grab the limited vinyl copy that boasts custom spray paint art unique to each sleeve. Jone's slow delivered flow and minimalistic psych-soaked beats can also be caught at this year's Whartscape.

Tickets for the round robin this friday at LOF are only 5 bucks, show starts at 10.

With much thanks to Jeff, take a gander at the audio from 2007's event below!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Locrian: Drenched Lands

Often some of the best records are the ones that manage to scare that crap out of you.

Chicago-based Locrian have been creating noise since 2005, with a couple handfuls of cassettes, CDRs and records already under their belt. Their newest release is dubbed Drenched Lands, and just dropped via At War With False Noise.

Heavily soaked in dark ideas and droning aspirations, the album seems to soundtrack long forgotten urban landscapes. One might throw the classification of black metal into the mix, but ambient noise is prevalent and melodic tones build to grandiose heights.

Walls of heavy electronics and doom-filled fuzz break way to epic guitar squalls that are certainly the band's strong suit. Quieter sonic moments round out an album that's steeped in gloom, showing signs of hope. Drenched Lands masters slow and steady inclinations of noise, and is absolutely necessary to listen to in its entirety.

You can catch Locrian open up for The New Flesh next week. They play the Talking Head on July 8th. The album is available now on compact disc, and will be released on clear vinyl on July 15th limited to 200 copies.

Photos: Weekends at the Talking Head

Photos By Chrissy

Chrissy was at the Talking Head Monday night to capture new local favorite Weekends in all their glory. She said they rocked, but unfortunately were cut extremely short due to breaking both of their guitars.

Need not worry, because Weekends are playing a few more shows in the upcoming weeks. You can catch them at Saturday's day set of Whartscape, and at Exotic Hypnotic the following weekend.