For my second show of 2015, I went to a fundraiser show for the group, Hollaback. I am catching up so this is going to be brief…
The first band of the night was The Degenerettes. I had never heard them before. I think they were pretty good. I think I have seen their drummer in another band before. They seemed like some solid peeps.
Second up was Friendbeast. The bass player is the uncle (maybe step uncle) of my friend. My friend is in a band with me called Cool is Forever Now. Neat. He was nice. I told him I knew Justin. Their music was loud and their screaming singer sang in the crowd.
Hive Bent played next. I fucking love Hive Bent. I have seen them a few times and they always rock. A +
Next up was Crimson Wave, a band that I had not seen live in a couple years. They decided to call it a day, so the next time I see them, opening for Superheaven, it will be their last show… Say it ain’t so, as I have been a fan since Baltimore Popfest 2013.
The last band of the night was Wet Brain. Too many cameras! I think this is the show that caused UN Booking to say enough with the million of flashes and all that. The band was great as always. Before they played, the Hollaback (anti street harassment organization) organizer said thanks and I was later told I kept screaming “I ain’t no hollaback girl!” a few times. All in all a great night!
All photos by me
December – snow, playoffs, fireplaces, Christmas… And end of the year lists. This is the first of three that I will be posting. Each will be 10 releases, LPs or EPs, grouped together in a particular way. The first list is my favorite (not best of, I hate that term) releases from Baltimore artists in 2014. In addition, I made a mix that can be heard on Mixcloud, featuring one track from each release:
WIldhoney – Seventeen Forever: First up is the newest EP from shoegazers Wildhoney. Three slabs of walls of sound, mastered by Jake Reid of Screen Vinyl Image fame.
Wye Oak – Shriek: Wye Oak changed it all up. No longer did guitars rule this duo. The old formula was vocals plus guitar plus drummer who is also playing bass parts as he drums. The new formula was singer playing bass with a drummer who is also playing lead parts on synth. This new synthpop sound really works for them, and I spent an excellent evening at the 930 Club this year watching them do their new thing.
Mt Royal – Mt Royal EP: Anything Katrina Ford is on is excellent. Mt Royal’s debut is not any different. I had patiently waited for this for a long time after seeing them perform a few times.
Future Islands – Singles: This could almost be called the year of Future Islands. They went from local darlings to one of the biggest indie bands in the planet. Their Letterman appearance shouldn’t need to be mentioned – their music does the speaking for them. This release followed their trajectory of pushing their envelopes with lyrical composition, vocal styling, soundscapes and other synth goodness, and their ever steady bass anchoring it all together.
Silk Rhodes – Silk Rhodes: This release is pure funk. Disco, funk, soul… It all exists in the same realm for these two Baltimore artists. This is extremely danceable. I have not had the pleasure of catching them live (versus every other artist on this list, at least once, if not several times) but hope to remedy that in 2015.
Wing Dam – Shifter: Wing Dam followed up their last classic with another classic. I had already heard a lot of these songs live, and instantly dug it. I was fortunate to be allowed to sit in the producer booth while they recorded a couple of these, and for that I am eternally grateful. It was quite the experience and it was a lot of fun to hear the finished product, and see some of the recording process first-hand. They are one of the funnest bands to catch live, and some of the nicest people around.
Hive Bent – dyatlov: Two piece that crush. Heavy heavy heavy. I don’t have much more to say other than I love Hive Bent. Go grab their newest EP, you wont regret it.
Multicult – Variable Impulse: Multicult are another great band on record and live. The on one hand look to Shellac for inspiration and on the other surpass them in terms of energy.
Roomrunner – Seperate: Roomrunner’s newest EP is a bit of a departure for them sonically. This time around they recorded with J Robbins, who helped the record catch a slightly different groove than their previous (and excellent) releases. They still look towards the 1990s, but this time you can feel a variety of influences creep in.
Horse Lords – Hidden Cities: One of the most intriguing bands to see live. Their rythum cant be beat. I have been mesmerized in a trance every time I have seen them. This record does a good job of captuing their vibe, but if you haven’t seen them live, do yourself a favor and check them out.
Beyond Inversion was released by label Accidental Guest Records (a local to my area, label ran by Sean Grey, who also partly runs Fan Death Records, another favorite label of mine) late last year, and features 23 tracks from across the spectrum of punk and post-punk music. There is seriously too much goodness on this compilation (I can’t imagine me liking any other comp as much, for at least the next year) to go through it all. First off, it is a benefit release. Bandcamp lists this for info on the benefit:
all proceeds will benefit Rachael’s Women’s Center in DC, a nonprofit agency which provides resources and opportunities for homeless and formerly homeless women. A silkscreened poster accompanying this release will also be available for purchase, with proceeds also going to Rachael’s Women’s Center.
About Rachael’s Women’s Center:
To provide homeless and formerly homeless women with opportunities to develop their independence, sense of self and hope by:
Providing safety, shelter, food, showers and laundry in a nurturing, homelike environment;
Helping women to reach their potential through intensive case management and programs that empower them to take control of their lives and advocate for themselves.
Rachael’s also reaches out to individuals living on the streets, enabling and encouraging them to access services and benefits available to people who are homeless.
Rachael’s Women’s Center is a place of hospitality and hope for women who are homeless. When given the chance to heal in a caring and challenging environment, women can be enabled and empowered to bring forth their forgotten and lost potential. The Center asserts the right of all women to be treated with respect and dignity. We believe that in a non-judgemental and supportive environment that all women can find meaning, self-respect, hope, personal power, and love regardless of race or life experiences. In this environment we maintain that all women can evolve into more independent, self-reliant individuals who can more effectively contribute to the communities in which they live.
Rachael’s Women’s Center
1222 11th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Next up, the music. Here are some of my highlights from the record. Perfect Pussy offer up another slice of noise punk goodness (much needed after such a short EP). Bret Lanahan (drummer of Roomrunner) proves he is equally as bad ass on both sides of the drum kit, with an excellent solo blast. Hive Bent lends Tomgirl, a personal favorite of mine from their last release. Clean Girls also gave a track I already had, but a good one. Roomrunner have a demo of the mythical ESPN Zone. Scott Russell’s A Guide to Rational Living track Careful kills it. Technicolor Teeth makes shoegaze but not really. Stillsuit, love the name (huge Dune nerd), and this song is bananas; free-jazz noise freakout punk? Jail Solidarity brings the heaviness. Sadie Dupuis (of Speedy Ortiz fame) shows that she can rock it 90s style solo or with her band. Ok, enough ruminations on these tracks. My descriptions definitely don’t do these songs justice. GO LISTEN/SUPPORT THIS ALREADY!
I decided to do a couple of things with my blog this year. One is write more. The other is write more about the shows that I go to. I used to do this quite a bit on an old blog, and decided I needed to get back in the habit. I haven’t decided if this will be the format every time, but at least for now I am going to write about the bands in the order they played, with pictures intermingled of each band.
The first show that I attended in 2014 was at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore (one of my personal favorites in the DC/Baltimore area) on January 8. The bill was loaded with noise-rock, noise-punk, punk… Big guitars, loud drums, distortion… Exactly what I usually look for in seeing live music. I hung out for a little bit waiting for the music to start and then with a cold one in my hand, I proceeded to take a spot near the stage to catch some music.
Hive Bent were up first. They were the only band on the bill that I had already seen, and this time was as enjoyable as the last. After a couple of equipment issues at the beginning to the set (guitar string breaking and a bass pedal swap out), they played their brand of loud, heavy, and noisy rock and roll. The around 30 minute set length was indicative of the rest of the night, where even the headliner played a short set. I personally was excited to hear Rick and Tomgirl, two of my favorites from the U Neutral EP.
Second up was Multicult, a local three-piece who have been on my radar for a while, but I had yet to see live. Their seven song set included both tracks off of their excellent single from last year. I would describe their music as crushing, precise, and mathematical. The bass and guitar riffs were fast and so much was going on in each track. I decided to grab their Spaces Tangled vinyl and look forward to listening to that soon.
The third band was Big Mouth. I didn’t know anything about them before the show, but was excited due to how excited Stph of Hive Bent was on stage earlier that they were opening for them. The band (who hadn’t played in three months I overheard them say) was pretty on point. Riff-heavy punk rock with a frontwoman who spent most of the set in the crowd bumping into people and singing into their faces. It was a lot of fun, and I would definitely like to see them again. One note, the guitarist had a broken foot, and she tried her hardest to rock, playing some songs sitting and some with her foot propped in a seat.
And lastly, the headliners took the stage. Perfect Pussy are Dragged to Hell alums (their EP was on my Favorite Releases of 2013 list and I also featured a short writeup (one of the first rock based ones for this site, but definitely not the last) of the EP). Meredith and company weren’t just noisy punks on record, they were also some noisy punks on stage. She led the boys through a few sonic blasts of noise with a boundless energy. I think the buzz they have received lately is well warranted, and I hope they are around for a lot longer. I also look forward to hearing what is the next step in their sound. Will they continue their sonic annihilation? Their punk/noise combination is one I recommend for anyone that likes their music noisy. Perfect Pussy’s set was also the shortest of the night, clocking in around fifteen minutes. And while I would have liked a little more time, I left the show fully satiated, as their set was extremely intense. All in all, it was a great way to start off my live music attendance for 2014.
(all pictures are taken by me and from my Instagram account)