Friday, May 29, 2009

Video: Major Lazer's "Hold the Line"

Woah. It appears Major Lazer is not in fact the combo of Diplo and Switch, but a half Dolemite and half G.I. Joe superpower that combats bad guys from Scooby Doo's travels.

Whatever the case, this video rocks. The hotly anticipated Major Lazer full length is due June 16th on Mad Decent. Soundtrack your vintage cartoon hero escapades accordingly.

Ticket Giveaway: Black Lips and Spank Rock

In one of the most brilliant lineup's of the summer, both kinds of dirty are fully represented. Dirty rock and roll riffs paired with raunchy minded hip hop will be in full effect.

The Black Lips headline Sonar June 19, with Spank Rock and PoPo on support. Not part of any of the band's tours, this one-off show sports a completely original lineup. Not to mention, "this is the most caustic collection of trouble maker musical geniuses ever assembled". [via]

In the cut and paste mixtape age of hip hop, Spank Rock has always been a glaring outlier.

Old school beats rooted in everything from Baltimore club to samba to 80's dance have been a standard. Paired with Juwan's lyrical abilities, rhymes that never fail to sport just enough bootay innuendo.

The Black Lips' brand of country punked garage has always been steeped in blues and surf, a sound that is far more simple than that overthought description. 2007's Good Bad Not Evil was a breakthrough, but look no farther than the raucous jaunts of Let it Bloom and Black Lips! to get the proper idea. The new LP ain't too shabby either, and a GZA-like collaboration with Spank Rock that night won't be out of the question.

I have 2 pairs of free tickets courstesy of Sonar. If you feel in need of some boh-soaked ruckus on a Friday night, send an email to I'll pick 2 winners at random the week before the show.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grizzly Bear at the 930 Club

The now beast of an indie rock band that is Grizzly Bear will be playing the 930 Club this Monday night. The band released Veckatimest this week, their massively anticipated third full length.

Songs from Veckatimest have been rearing their heads here and there for almost a year, and all signs lead to the band's first pop masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, songs like "Two Weeks" and "While You Wait for the Others" are stellar in their own right.

But after spending some time with Veckatimest, I can't help but being a bit let down.

Grizzly Bear's Yellow House was and remains to be one of my favorite albums of recent times, but the Brooklyn based band took another route with the new one. The album focuses more on each song's structure than the album as a whole, while Yellow House was a dark but enlighteningly cohesive journey.

Veckatimest isn't a bad album. The production is impeccable, there are numerous outstanding tracks, and it's filled to the brim with the peak moments of Yellow House. But the balance just isn't there, and the multi-instrumentalist band may have taken it up one notch too many.

Still, I look forward to hearing these songs live. I saw the band play the 2640 space with Beach House a few years back, and the way the harmonizing vocals echoed off the old church's walls is something tough to forget. The show in DC on June 1st is sold out, but ask your good friend Craig if he's got an extra.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cymbals Eat Guitars and Title Tracks @ Metro Gallery

The Metro Gallery is pretty stacked in the coming weeks with RUFUSTIVAL going down next Saturday and Cass McCombs playing Tuesday. More to come soon on that Cass McCombs/Jana Hunter bill, but a noteworthy show is also taking place this Friday.

Title Tracks headline the night, while Cymbals Eat Guitars are the appropriately highlighted supporting band.

Staten Island's Cymbals Eat Guitars dropped their debut Why There Are Mountains earlier this year, a record that tends to quickly snag ears. At first thought, its sound boasts a cross-pollination of Broken Social Scene and Apollo Sunshine.

While further evaluation reveals a roadtrip of sprawling aural landscapes that might in fact lead to the answer of why there are mountains. Fleeting crescendos break way to polished horns, all within well-crafted and seemingly natural song structures that are of an often grand scale.

Title Tracks is a new John Davis project, who used to be of both Georgie James and Q and Not U. The DC project just released its first single, "Every Little Bit Hurts" and "Found Out". The songs are catchy, packing a solid punch in little time. No groundbreaking ideas within the guitar pop realm, but the formula works and there is much potential for a solid full length.

The show is Friday May 29th at the Metro Gallery, and will run ya 10 beans.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Get Em Mamis

Baltimore's female rap force that is the Get Em Mamis are busy these days. They played Sonar last night with DC's Wale, well known for his Seinfeld soaked Mixtape About Nothing. Get Em Mamis also are dropping their new mixtape, which was available at the show last night and sometime very soon via the interwebs.

The mix is fittingly titled The Road to TerAwesome, as it's the primer for their album to hit streets this summer to be called TerAwesome. The tape is promised to have new stuff that's way too hot for us not to hear, and old favorites including a few always welcomed freestyles over Salt 'n Pepa and Madonna.

The duo also just dropped their official video for "Work" and "Rock With Me", as seen above. The clip features a parking garage fashion show and some ridiculous rhymes and flow via the ladies. According to the flyer, they'll be at that little shindig with Dan Deacon June 13 at Sonar.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Photos: Holy Fuck at the Ottobar

Photos by Chrissy

Holy Fuck brought its infectious synths to the Ottobar Sunday, and Chrissy was in town to capture the action. I was told it was a solid affair, and can vouch for their live act having seen them open up for Super Furry Animals a few years ago. Holy Fuck stole the show back then, getting more people to dance for an opener than I have ever witnessed.

If you missed out this weekend as well, dude's are currently on a lengthy U.S. tour. You can catch them in DC at the Rock and Roll Hotel Wednesday with Crocodiles.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Old People Enjoy Dan Deacon's Ding Dongs

Bill, Anne, and Joe are at it again. The Fishtown trio of elderly critics are still gathering at 5 AM at Sulimay's, and are still equipped with headphones bumping the latest tunes that you'd expect them to hate.

This time they're knocking Dan Deacon, and I thought I'd share their analysis in light of my recent contest for free tickets that is up and running. The group tear into "Snookered", a track off Bromst that gives you a chance to sit back and take it all in.

Anne think's "the record's stuck" and asks someone to "check that needle", but likes all the "little ding dongs" in the beginning. Joe thinks the track "suffered from an overlong intro" and "thinks it could be improved with judicious editing". Bill suggests not to "try to understand art". Please pass the cream of wheat.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Double Dagger Album Release Party

For those of you that have slacked on taking a listen to Double Dagger's More, get on that. The LP is, and will likely remain to be, the most explosive release to come out of our fine city this year.

More delivers everything you would expect from a Double Dagger record, and then some. Snaking melodies and even some down-tempo rhythms show face here and there, but never straying away from the post-hardcore sound we all know and love. Dude's spent an entire winter in a warehouse with no heat recording this one, and the months of hard nips more than certainly paid off.

Their relentless drums, bass, and lyrics transcribe even heavier live. And I'm guessing a packed house at the H&H Building is means for a solid effort. Be sure to check out our photo set from their fantastic performance a few months ago at the Zodiac.

Double Dagger are celebrating the release of More in grand fashion tomorrow night at Floristree. Featured support includes Videohippos, Brooklyn's Air Waves, and Dream Neighbor (an ex-Wzt Hearts project). Not a shabby way to kick of your 3 day weekend folks.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Dan Deacon at Sonar

I have 2 pairs of tickets to give away for Dan Deacon's show at Sonar on Saturday June 13. This is Taxlo's big summer blowout, so expect a bit of dancing, sweating, and fun.

Dan Deacon has been unleashing the brilliance that is his ensemble tour for Bromst all over the country, and is bringing it over to Europe in a few weeks. I wonder if they'll be rocking a vegatable oil fueled jet across the Atlantic.

Bromst's seemingly endless symphony of pure joy has been one of the best releases of the year, and most are aware Dan Deacon's live show is on a whole other level. Not yet aware? Head on over to NPR to stream his show last Sunday in DC in its entirety.

Black Dice and a whole slew of other acts will be weighing in on the evening's festivities as well. If you're interested in a pair of tickets, email some love to I'll pick 2 lucky winners the week before the madness. Don't dilly dally on this one too long, as it should be one of the more lively parties of the summer.

Edit: One pair will be given away to whoever wants to review the show. Let me know why you should do it in the email. I'm still giving the other pair away at random!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Listen to Ducktails

Equally as fantastic as the original cartoon, but spelled a bit differently, New Jersey's Ducktails just dropped it's first LP with Not Not Fun Records.

Ducktails were recently featured on the Underwater People's Summertime Showcase, a highly recommended compilation that also sports ill jams from Real Estate, Julian Lynch, and Frat Dad. Have at it for free via ButterxFace right now, or cough up $4.50 for it when it's released later this month.

Now I haven't had a chance to sit on the beach yet this year, but when that opportunity arises soon Ducktails will likely be the first thing to infiltrate my headphones. This avant surf pop record possesses sunny psychedelic swirls of bubbly vocals and cosmic synths guaranteed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The album's structure flows quite well and leads up to an 11 minute track that either brings you back to reality or blasts you off into outer space, your choice.

Soundgarden has copies on vinyl and compact disc, but I'd jump on it because it's limited to 600 pressings. Ducktails is on a European tour right now, but if any plans to come around these parts in the future surface I'll surely pass along details.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Cass McCombs

The first tastes off Cass McCombs's summer release Catacombs are now surfacing on the interwebs. Above is the video for the track "Dreams Come True Girl".

The video is hazy and spooky yet dreamy and light, just like the once Baltimore resident's magnificent music. Catacombs is Cass's second release with Domino, and is slated for U.S. release July 7th. The rest of the world gets it on June 1, ouch.

Another track at your disposal currently is the first single titled "Jonesy Boy". Head over to his myspace page and sign up for the mailing list, and you'll recieve the MP3 for free. Both these tracks elude to Cass McCombs getting back to his A and Not the Way beginnings, two classics that should not be absent from your music collection. Cass has always been a brilliant songwriter, constructing songs of beauty and depth that tend to sneak up on you after a few spins.

Stay tuned for further evaluation of Catacombs, and hopefully some deets on a tour.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The Metro Gallery just announced its two year anniversary celebration titled RUFUSTIVAL 2009. Named after the owner's dog, Rufus is the mascot of a pretty stacked lineup.

Headlining is one of the loudest bands ever, A Place to Bury Strangers. This distortion-crazed three piece out of NYC put out a pretty solid self titled debut, that rages noise pop to freakishly high decibel levels. The other standout of the festival also hail from NYC, but are a bit easier on the ol' eardrums.

The Dirty Projectors have a higly anticipated release due out June 9th titled Bitte Orca. Reserve a copy on limited cassette via Domino. Tough to put a finger on their sound, the group sports experimental blends of pop and R&B, among many others.

Wye Oak are another welcome addition to the festival, as the release of their new effort The Knot looms closer. Be sure to check out the first track off the upcoming LP right here. RUFUSTIVAL also comes complete with local shoegaze specialists Thrushes. Other acts include Baby Aspirin, The Water, Ecstatic Sunshine, Chairlift, Eureka Birds, The Skydrops, and Pianowire.

The festival will take place outside in the parking lot 2 doors down from Metro Gallery off Charles Street. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased off Brown Paper Tickets.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Photo Review: Animal Collective at the 930 Club

Photos by John

Disclaimer: After this post, I vow to not talk about Animal Collective for awhile.

Animal Collective played a sold out show at the 930 Club for the second stop on their current US tour last night. The crowd was in similar high spirits, as the club was bursting at the seams with those that knew what to expect, and some that had no idea what they were in for.

Grouper's Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill was a fantastic ambient folk album released last year. While her sound is ideal to comfortably warm up a crowd, I'm not sure it was best suited for such a large venue. Many conversations in the crowd continued, but she proceeded with her pleasant looping bedroom tunes that did manage to garner a decent chunk of attention. Props to the Baltimore crowd the night before that kept nice and quiet for Daniel Higgs.

Animal Collective again began their set with "Chocolate Girls", reworked from Panda Bear and Avey Tare's 2000 debut Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished. Otherwise the set was similar but mixed around quite a abit. Before the crowd favorite "My Girls", Avey and the Geologist helped out with Panda Bear's "Comfy in Nautica", the first track off of his already epic solo album Person Pitch. Other highlights included "Banshee Beat" and a promising new song titled "Bleed". This show was yet again aurally stimulating, but it was tough for it to live up to the Ottobar's vibes the night before.

NPR podcasted the entire set, and has it available as a free stream right here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photo Review: Animal Collective at the Ottobar

Photos by Chrissy

When I first heard Sung Tungs five or so years ago, I would have never dreamed of Animal Collective being where they are at today. As the experimental folk noise of Here Comes the Indian has evolved into the sonic pop bliss of Merriweather Post Pavillion, Animal Collective are poised to take over the world.

Last night the band played a rare hometown show in Baltimore at the cozy Ottobar. Tickets were only obtained by those with sheer luck or quick determination, and those select few were handsomely rewarded. Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and the Geologist all took the stage a little after 9 PM to a very warm reception.

Only stopping once or twice to thank and share their love for the intimate setting, the trio twisted and twirled its way through a ridiculously stellar set. Avey and Panda crooned and shrieked as the Geologist laid the groundwork for the beats and noise which seemed to build and build as the set wore on. "Fireworks" was fantastic, but you can't mess with the warped version of "Who Could Win a Rabbit" that faded into "Summetime Clothes". The encore closed with "My Girls", as the entire crowed pleaded for four walls and adobe slacks for their girls.

The set was very heavy in MPP material, but I sure as hell didn't see anyone complaining. Gawk at Chrissy's incredible photo set above, and check back for coverage of tonight's show at the 930 Club.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: The Shins

I'm pretty sure I don't need to properly introduce The Shins to you. Chances are, Natalie Portman did a well enough job of doing so in Garden State a few years back.

I have 2 free tickets to go see the mega huge band next Friday May 15th at Rams Head.

The Shins have been pretty busy as of late, ending their relationship with Sub Pop and shuffling around some band members. The band is aiming for a release of their next album early next year, on whatever label that may be. Shins frontman James Mercer has also been working on the much anticipated Dark Night of the Soul involving Sparklehorse, David Lynch, Danger Mouse, and a ton more.

If you're interested in the free passes to the show, send a kind email to and I'll pick a winner sometime next week.

Animal Collective at the Ottobar, and more!

Another weekend chock full of shows here in the city that reads. If you were one of the lucky ones that scored tickets to see Animal Collective at the Ottobar on Sunday, I'd suggest doing the right thing and bringing your mom. Old people sure do dig Animal Collective.

If you're not one of the 400 or so who got tickets, check back here for detailed coverage and drown your sorrows in some dusty folk acts Saturday evening. San Francisco's Papercuts will be headlining the Metro Gallery, with local support deriving from the always endearing Jana Hunter.

Papercuts were fantastic opening up for Beach House at their release show for Devotion last year, and are now armed with a new record. Fans of Beach House and Cass McCombs will likely gravitate towards the new LP, which has a much fuller feel than their last record. I will always recommend Jana Hunter, whose There's No Home finds its way into my late night playlist time and time again.

Like more country served with your folk? Try the Golden West tonight where John McCauley of Deer Tick and Caleb Stine serendade Hampden. Deer Tick have been riding the glory of their fantastic War Elephant for some time, but have a new LP dropping June 23rd called Born on Flag Day. Based off the first single released, the new one sounds just as promising.

Sample some goods of all that is going on this weekend...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

PC Worship: NYC Stone Age

Justin Frye hails from both the psychedelic echoes of Gary War and the tribal chaos that is Teeth Mountain. His own project is dubbed PC Worship, of which he just dropped NYC Stone Age via SHDWPLY Records.

With plenty of contemporary lo fi choices at your disposal, some of the best as of late have come from the SHDWPLY label.

My personal favorite was the The Super Vacations debut LP, but PC Worship is creeping its way up there. Surely a grower, the album boasts sonic noise paired with varying blends of off kiltered neo-psychalelia.

The LP was recorded from 2006-2009 in Brooklyn on a four track reel-to-reel tape machine. Plenty of fuzz throughout, Frye dabbles in frenetic free jazz, woozy folk, and shades of psych pop. The record is limited to 200 or so copies, all with hand made silk screen white covers, and unfortunately looks to be way sold out. However, you can download the entire thing for free right here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Ponytail Video

This one for "Celebrate the Body Electric (It came from an Angel)" has overaged kangaroo kids, exploding flourecent lights, and confetti filled bursting balloons. All scored eleqouently enough to give you 7 seizures in a row. Check out my recent review of Ponytail's show at DC9, and be sure to catch them on their current national tour.

Do A Couple Things Tonight

Two shows worth your while on Saratoga Street tonight. Sonar boasts Stone's Throw extraordinaire Peanut Butter Wolf and his protege James Pants, while the Talking Head's got The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Deleted Scenes.

James Pants jumpstarted his career by showing up to see Peanut Butter Wolf the night of his his prom, date in hand. That lead to an internship at Stones Throw, and eventually his debut Welcome. A mix of spaced out rhythms and electronically infused disco boogies, his record is the perfect jam to soundtrack your party past midnight. No clue what to expect from Mr. Pant's live show, but it can't be any less than interesting.

Newly dubbed indie darlings The Pains of Being Pure at Heart headline down the hall. Their record is filled with gazey new wave pop, and really isn't all that shabby. DC's Deleted Scenes help open up the bill, whose LP Birsdseed Shirt has seen plenty of rotation in my recent listenings. The album illustrates the band's big sound, with horns accenting large builds throughout. Dan Scheuerman's vocals show plenty of range, rounding out an all in all very solid debut affair.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Photo Review: Dinosaur Jr. & Mike Watt at the Ottobar

Photos by Chrissy

J Mascis's guitar will be continually echoing through my eardrums for the next month, and man am I more than okay with that. Saturday's Dinosaur Jr. show at the Ottobar was big on all levels, including decibels.

There are no surprises involved in a Dinosaur Jr. show. With a band that has helped lay the groundwork for the majority of the bands playing today, not messing around with what works is all one can ask for. Murph's drums didn't miss a beat, Lou Barlow ripped away on bass, and Mascis's guitar work schooled us all.

The new jams were great, again not shying away from their patented alternative rock and roll formula. However the set list was mostly littered with songs from previous works, welcomely heavy in tracks from their most epic LPs You're Living All Over Me and Beyond. It's refreshing to see a band reunite and not just cough up lost causes with little heart, and it's even greater when that band is Dinosaur Jr.

In a night full of icons of the trade, Mike Watt and the Missingmen opened up the evening. One of the most legendary bass players of our time proved he still had it in him, slapping and spitting his way through a pretty killer set. Churning away at some old tracks and new ones, the trio is now heading to the studio to record their next album.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Excitement Building (Dinosaur Jr.)

Tomorrow night the legends that are Dinosaur Jr. will be gracing Baltimore with their presence at the Ottobar. To say that I am a little amped for this show is quite the understatement.

With this tomorrow night, and Animal Collective playing there next weekend, I think the Ottobar might soon spontaneously combust from awesomeness. Expect detailed coverage of both completely sold out shows in the coming weeks.

Tons of other stuff to do this weekend as well, including True Vine's benefit tonight at Floristree that sports Matmos, Jana Hunter and a ton more. Please go and show some support for one of the best record stores around.

Also tonight, Jeff the Taper is sponsoring a pretty intense lineup that include the always fantastic Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad. Tons of choices, enjoy!

Ticket Giveaway: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

I have 2 free tickets to giveaway for next week's Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings show at Rams Head. Those of you who are familiar with the modern queen of soul, know how great of a contest this is. Those who don't, please familiarize.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are continually stuck in the 1960s and 70s, and us folks who currently wish to get down and funky have been reaping all the benefits. Sharon grew up idolizing James Brown and singing gospel backed by funk bands at talent shows, eventually leading to her current band that's got more soul than most know what to do with.

This isn't you're momma's soul either. Well, maybe it is. Either way, Sharon and her band will most certainly bring countless booty-shaking boogies to keep the crowd forgetting that it's 2009 and the Orioles no longer have Frank Robinson in outfield.

The show is Thursday May 7at Rams Head. If you're interested in the 2 free tickets (of course you are) email and let me know.