I go to a lot of live music. Here were my thirty favorite sets, a quick sentence or two about each, and a picture. They are in chronological order. I wont be posting dates for each one though.
First up, Crimson Wave at Sidebar. It was their second to last ever show, and I included this over their last because while this was sad.. It was not as sad as the last one was.
This was from War on Women’s record release show. It was a great time with a diverse lineup, and War on Women slayed and made me a lifetime fan (I already loved the EP before this).
Downtown Boys at Windup Space. They made me even more of a fan of the sax.
The Body at CCAS! (RIP CCAS). This was one of the few times that I went to Charm City Art Space. This was a matinee show and the Body slayed like it was midnight. It was the loudest thing I heard all night.
I saw Prince on a date with my fiancee (she does not go to many shows so each one I consider a special event). Plus, motherfucking Prince yo.
This is Lightning Bolt right before they destroyed Floristree. I did not know that the crowd would be so crazy and I spent most of the show in the back of this DIY spot.
Scapescape is one of my favorite festivals. With a lineup focusing on local talent, there is always something playing that I would want to see. This was my first time seeing Blacksage (though not my last, I ended up seeing them two other times in 2015) and they did not disappoint. They should be huge.
This is another Scapescape performance, by Adbu Ali. His confrontational, emotional style of hip-hop was a thing of beauty and he had me dancing his whole set.
Chastity Belt was a band who I immediately loved when I first heard them this year. They did not let me down at their Metro Gallery show. Plus the lead singer plays the same guitar as me. I do not see tons of guitarists using it. Also props to Metro Gallery, my favorite venue. Venue of 2015!
Number ten and last of this bunch is Romantic States at the Crown. Their music is perfect pop songs with loud and soft dynamics. I saw them a couple other times this year, but this was my favorite.
Dragged to Hell Volume 34 is the second part of my series celebrating the music of Baltimore.
The first was rock, this is beats. Hip hop, electronic tunes, synthpop; if it is beat driven and from the city, it was featured.
This musical journey starts in the Baltimore club, and ends with some classics by some of the city’s top musicians. 17 tracks, 58 minutes.
Photo of Rapdragons (from ScapeScape 2013) by me
Dragged to Hell Volume 21 is a special, dance party ready mix. I have selected tunes from the last few months (not all songs are that new, some are just that new to me) that fall in the hip hop, dance, electronic, industrial, and whatever I felt fit the mix.
Silk Rhodes – Barely New
Sage The Gemini – Gas Pedal (Meth Dad Remix)
Lttle Phnx – Koromiko
Chris Travis – Let Down
Death Grips – Black Quarterback
Mykki Blanco – Moshin In The Front feat. Cities Aviv
ABDU ALI & BLAQSTARR – I, EXIST (BLAQSTARR REMIX)
Yung Lean – Sandman
Matic808 – Bound 2 (Yeezus)
clipping – mouth (ft. black mushroom, chinaka hodge)
Frontline Assembly – Echogenetic (Youth Code)
YTCracker – Convalescence
☠JAYYEAH☠ – The Swing 1767
Dean Garcia– Fifteen
Nerftoss – Bottomless
How to Dress Well – A Power
Dragged to Hell 19 is hip hop heavy. Commercial and underground are mixed in this mix, side by side. Most of the popular tunes are slowed down.
This mix also features a little bit of noise and experimental music at the end. (originally released a couple months ago. Volume 20 coming soon)
Force Publique – Sacrifice
Milky Chance – Stolen Dance
Ami Dang – Kissed by the Fire
Tinashe – 2 On (feat. Schoolboy Q)
Abdu Ali – Shiva (prod. by B L A C K I E)
Shabazz Palaces – …down 155th in the MCM Snorkel
Waka Flocka – Move That Dope (DatPiff
clipping – guns.up
Atari Teenage Riot – We Are From the Internet
Puerto Rico Flowers – After The Weekend
Ellah A. Thaun – K I L L YouR F R I E N D S
Locrian – Triumph of Elimination
York Factory Complaint – Loved
cover/picture by me
I love Baltimore’s music scene over all others, so it gets its own top ten list. In no particular order, my ten favorite Charm City releases for 2014. I also made a mixcloud mix with a track from each.
1. Roomrunner – Ideal Cities: I have been a Roomrunner fan since the first EP. Finally they released a full length. This is throwback noise rock, at times reminiscent of the grunge days, but yet still its own sonic beast. My favorite parts tend to be the squeals between the chords, when experienced live is almost a religious experience. I am glad I can call Baltimore Dragged to Hell’s home base, as I was able to see Roomrunner a total of five times in 2013, and each time was great. For some reason I haven’t seen much love for this album on “Best Of” lists, which is just sad. Maybe this is their Bleach, and everyone else catches on later (yes a Nirvana reference, NO I don’t think they sound like them). Bonus points for being released by one of my favorite labels, Fan Death Records. And double bonus points for Jake Reid of Screen Vinyl Image (another one of my favorite bands) for his excellent mastering work.
2. Wing Dam – Thick Phase / No Splash: The first Friends Records release on this list, and far from the last. Wing Dam used to be a solo act. I never caught Austin Tally live back then, and the music was a bit chill (ie not fuzzed out). Fast forward to 2013, and Wing Dam is a threesome (also featuring Sara Autry aka Which Magic on bass and Abram Sanders on drums). Some of the old tracks are in new form. Some are new. All show a sophisticated sense of songwriting, with the tracks featuring interesting riffs and lyrics that never bore; while at the same time retaining a youthful exuberance. This is a summer record. You put it on while skinny dipping. You put it on around the bonfire. Its joy, but under the surface there is also sadness (like in Stars, “Man, you can months without seeing stars… Start to think things are more important than they are”, a lyric that is very personal as I grew up in a place where you do see stars, and have lived in this area for pretty much my whole adult life). Also Austin has one of those unique singing voices that I instantly fell in love with.
3. Weekends – New Humans: Weekends are a two piece. Drums and guitars. Switched between certain songs. Weekends third full length is more of the same of what I love, reverbed out garage rock with that Baltimore sheen on it (not a literally one, this is dirty fuzzy music). I would also put it in the summer jams section. Sadly I haven’t been able to catch them live since this came out, and look forward to remedying that in 2014. Also courtesy of Friends Records.
4. Secret Mountains – Rainer: Just for tracking purposes, this is Friends Records release three from this list. This one makes me the saddest. After this was released, the band semi-dissolved, with some members including their singer, leaving the band. But they soldier on, and said they have new tunes for the next year. I hope so, as this flawless, female vocal driven psychedelic gem is an absolute masterpiece from start to finish.
5. Double Dagger – 333: This was my big score for Record Store Day (along with the A Place to Bury Strangers release), the first I ever participated in. I saw Double Dagger back in 2010, and they lasted a little while longer. They do the post-punk thing with their vocal , bass, and drums attack. This final release shows that they still had plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and the members are all still making music in the Baltimore scene (Roomrunner, Pure Junk, Peals).
6. Raindeer – Tattoo: Friends Records number four for this list. Tattoo is full of synth and guitar based jams. This band was really fun watching live, and I was able to see them a couple of time in 2013.
7. Scott Russell – A Guide to Rational Living Volume One: Noise rock from Friend Collector drummer Scott Russell. This release features riffs for days, and shows Scott as being as comfortable being a frontman as he is behind the skins.
8. ABDU ALI – Push+Slay: I am not sure if this is considered a mixtape, or an album; either way this release slays. Abdu Ali has a very confrontational style of lyricism and the earnestness of his music shines in his vocal performances. The beat selection is impeccable, with fellow Baltimore resident Schwarz (among others) dropping some real bangers.
9. Dungeonesse – Dungeonesse: Jon from the Art Department/White Life and Jenn from Wye Oak/Flock of Dimes team up for this pop/R&B release. Sing along choruses, memorable hooks, Jon’s production sheen, and Jenn’s vocals made this one I was revisiting several time this year.
10. The Snails – Worth The Wait: The final release on this list is also the fifth Friends Records one (man I love that label). This Baltimore super group dons snail outfits and features members of Future Islands and other groups, listed on Bandcamp as “the current cast of snails: Snail Braham, Snailburne, Sammy Snail, Snailliam, and Sandy Snailbelow”. They also made one hell of an EP, one that reminds me of beaches, waves rolling in, while sipping a piña colada.
cover image of Rommrunner taken by me at Hampdenfest 2013
Dragged to Hell 14 is a dark journey through post-punk, witch house, hip hop, and other types of music that I am currently enjoying. As always, I have linked the artists’ websites on their names in the setlist. If you dig any of them, please follow my example and toss them a couple of dollars! We all have to do our part to make sure the music we enjoy is still able to be produced. Anyways, I don’t mean to preach, but it is definitely something I am passionate about.
1. NФΔH ஜ3 – JΔGuΔЯ
2. DJ SMURPHY – June
3. Pleasure Leftists – 100 Years (The Cure cover)
4. KKING FELIXX – feeling like a ghost too
5. Flash/lights – Ruby Sun
6. Tantrum – Day of Fun
7. JANE WOODMAN – Black Forest
8. HAARPS – Underground (feat. Bobbi Dahl)
9. Dani Shivers! – Trilogy Pt. 3 (Ghost)
10. Le1f– Hush Bb (produced by Boody)
11. Tempers – Killing For Company (Swans Cover)
12. Talk All Night – Dig For Babel
13. Which Magic – Breeezin
14. Police Academy 6 – Gallow
15. Abdu Ali – BLEED
16. Matmos – Very Large Green Triangles
17. Night Vision – Betrayal
18. Von Haze – Conduct Your Touch
Cover/Photo by me