The Gray Kid
The Gray Kid's music has been described as "self-styled underground pop," which is a perfect way to imagine how he mixes the best parts of hip hop, R&B, radio pop and indie for a sound that is all his own. This man is a machine, playing live shows that are nothing short of furious, dropping new songs left and right and putting out his debut album ...5, 6, 7, 8. If Mick Jagger came of age in the '90s, this is the sound that he would be rocking.
Buy: ...5, 6, 7, 8MySpace: The Gray KidAudio: "Lonely Love"
The Hard Tomorrows
I'm in DC right now -- I took the day of off work so I could have a long weekend relaxing, taking in shows, and most importantly, catching a Baltimore Orioles game or two. DC has always been filled with great bands, but the ones that always get the most attention are those that are on Dischord and associated with that scene. Those bands are great, but there are plenty of other bands that are kicking it in the city.
The Hard Tomorrows are one of those bands that create a sound that doesn't fit into the dissonant post-hardcore box. This five-piece crafts jangly, sometimes jagged power pop that easily transcends any scene or genre. They have a bunch of shows coming up in the Northeast Corridor, plus a full-length that is almost ready for public consumption.
May 3 2006 Polly's Cafe - Free Show (Rob acoustic) Washington, DCMay 10 2006 Arlene's Grocery New York, NYMay 17 2006 The Black Cat Washington, DCMay 24 2006 The Manhattan Room Philadelphia, PAJun 3 2006 R&R New York, NYJun 9 2006 Sonar Baltimore, MDJun 23 2006 Pianos New York, NYMySpace: The Hard TomorrowsAudio: "Jaywalker"
Be Your Own Pet: New EP
Nashville quartet Be Your Own Pet are just barely still sort of in high school, they have attracted the mad adoration of both the British press and Thurston Moore and their hotly-tipped debut album drops on June 6th. Oh my god! 06/06/06!!! In the meantime, they have an EP out called Summer Sensation on Ecstatic Peace and will be playing Coachella this weekend. Seeing this band is quite the experience, as all four members twist and bend to the point of breaking. Let's hope that the desert heat doesn't stifle them.
My Space: Be Your Own Pet
Audio: "Fire Department"
Sound Team: New Track
I am pretty sure this is the 1000th time that I have posted about Sound Team, but whatever, they're a great band. Check out another new track from their debut album.
MySpace: Sound Team
Audio: "Movie Monster"
Boston: Shows [Week of 04.24.06]
After a great Friday, my weekend in NYC was pretty much a washout. It rained on Saturday and Sunday, so I decided not to venture up to Yankee Stadium to see the Orioles. I did get to spend some time with Dylan from Linfinity on Friday night who has made me reconsider my dislike for Pearl Jam. Seriously! There are a lot of shows this week, but not that many that I am really excited about. If you are going to see Two Gallants on Thursday, do yourself a favor and show up early for Cold War Kids -- definitely one of the best new bands to surface recently!
04.24: John Vanderslice/Wooden Wand/Page France @ Middle East Up
04.24: Jamie Lidell/Jimmy Edgar @ Great Scott
04.25: Piles/Shuttlecock @ Great Scott
04.26: Ben Lee @ The Paradise
04.27: Two Gallants/Frank Smith/Cold War Kids @ Middle East Up
When the calendar closes on this year, LA's Cold War Kids will be sitting victorious upon a never-ending list of accolades. Their mix of energetic indie rock and deep soul gives their tunes an added depth that forces repeated listens, creating a mood that is both familiar and fresh. They just simultaneously released two of the best EPs of the year: Up In Rags & With Our Wallets Full. They put on one of the best performances of SXSW this year and if you've never seen them, don't miss this -- they're back here in June, but that's too long to wait for a band this good.
Audio: "The Soloist In The Living Room"
04.27: The Glass Set/The Texas Governor/Radka @ Great Scott
04.28: The Hold Steady @ T.T. The Bears
04.29: Ambulance LTD/Mittens @ The Paradise04.30: Books On Tape @ Great Scott
04.30: Elf Power @ P.A.'s Lounge
04.30: The Fruit Bats/Sam Jayne @ T.T. The Bears
04.30: Spank Rock @ Middle East Up
I am not quite sure why I like these guys so much. It could be their blistering live shows, their love of Baltimore club music or even their blatant use of all things Baltimore, and we all know how much I love Baltimore!
Audio: "Girls + Boys"
A Passing Feeling
When I was in high school, I played in a band. It was fun, but things didn't really work out. I had a lot of energy, but I couldn't sing, I sucked at guitar and I was nervous playing in front of people. When I went to college, I gave it up and focused on writing and the campus radio station. Long Island band A Passing Feeling has as much energy as the teenage me, but the big difference is that they are actually good. They play shambolic hyper-pop that wouldn't sound out of place on a bill with Superchunk with a vocalist that is oddly reminiscent of Conor Oberst, which is pretty damn awesome. They have an EP out on 75 Or Less Records with more to come later this year.MySpace: A Passing FeelingAudio: "Small Town Saturday Night"
The new Richard Ashcroft album has been out for a few weeks and honestly, I have been sitting on it. I was always a huge fan of The Verve, especially the high water mark of Urban Hymns, which is an album that I still listen at least once a week. As Ashcroft descended into a solo career, his songs tended to be on the self-indulgent side, so I stopped paying attention. Keys To The World, his third solo effort, is an entirely different story -- all of the album's songs bristle with passion and showcase a songwriter who once rode the wave of youthful energy, but is now taking on adulthood with two eyes wide open.
Audio: "Why Not Nothing"
Video: "Break The Night With Colour" High | Low [Quicktime]
Due to a crazy fall schedule, I missed The Noisettes when they opened for Bloc Party, but that will never happen again after hearing the accolades even casual fans of the band have thrown around. They hail from London, which it seems will never stop producing awesome music. Lead singer Shingai Shoniwa sounds like Billie Holiday mashed into Regina Spektor while the band isn't far from all of the blues musicians that The White Stripes wished they sounded like. They have an EP out now with an album slated for the summer on Low Altitude. Since I am so nice, I have a new track below!
MySpace: The Noisettes
Boston: Shows [Week of 04.17.06]
The Sounds & Morningwood @ Avalon [Friday April 14th]
In The Sounds quest to take over America, the next that needs to fall is Boston, and honestly, I am ready and willing. Their latest album can easily be described as "good fun" and "completely addicitive," so let's their live show lives up to my high expectations!Audio: "Painted By Numbers"Morningwood was just in town a couple of months ago, playing the same venue and in addition to their energetic set, they helped one audience member remove his clothing. The lucky guy was able to keep his shorts on, but it was pretty easy to tell how much he enjoyed his striptease with lead singer Chantel Claret. Their latest single is "Jetsetter," and you can hear it on their MySpace page.
This action is going down at the Avalon. Doors are at 6 PM. Show up early to party with all of the teenagers who will be out for Action Action.
Cold War Kids "Hospital Beds"
Sound Team "Your Eyes Are Liars"
The New Thoughts "Schlieffen Plan"
Cities "A Theme"
Here are six reasons to get excited for music this spring -- I've been hearing some great tunes lately!
California five-piece The Dalloways take a little bit of England to their home out west and produce winning results. They've been described by Fresno Famous as "dreampop at its finest. Think The Smiths meets Belle and Sebastian meets The Doves, and you're halfway to understanding these sometimes moody, often upbeat dreamers." On Penalty Crusade, the band expertly moves between shoegaze and northern soul to create a confident debut album that is littered with booksmart lyrics.
MySpace: The Dalloways
Audio: "Ice Capades"
The Streets & Lady Sovereign: On Tour
Mike Skinner is bringing The Streets to America this spring with pint-sized opener Lady Sovereign. While both of them blow up back home, their fanbase is entirely made up of skinny white dorks that have college radio shows here in the States. Clearly everyone else is missing out because the latest release from The Streets, The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living, is poised to be one of this year's best. It's out on April 25th through Vice.
Last year's Vertically Challenged EP on Chocolate Industriesbrought Lady Sovereign's deft lyricism and tomfoolrey to our side of the Atlantic, and although a truncated tour cooled things off a bit, she is still poised to take things to the next level with her major label debut. It's called Public Warning and it will be out later this year on Island Def Jam. To pump you up for the album, I am giving away a vinyl copy of the "Blah Blah" single. The first person that can tell me who tried to kill Doc Brown in the parking lot of Hill Valley Mall in Back To The Future gets the record. E-mail me now!
06-07 Seattle, WA - Showbox
06-08 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
06-09 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
06-10 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
06-14 Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
06-16 Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
06-18 Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo [no Lady Sovereign]
06-21 Boston, MA - Avalon Ballroom
06-22 Montreal, Quebec - Spectrum de Montreal
06-23 Toronto, Ontario - The Phoenix
06-24 Chicago, IL - Intonation Music Festival
06-27 New York, NY - Webster Hall
MySpace: The StreetsMySpace: Lady SovereignAudio: The Streets "When You Wasn't Famous"Audio: Lady Sovereign "Hoodie" [Mizz Beats Remix]Audio: Lady Sovereign "Hoodie" [XXXChange Remix]
Shut Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames
I am not going to do the "Flashback Tuesday" feature anymore, which is a good thing just becaue there are so many great new bands to post about. As much as I like taking a look at some bands that I have forgotten about, I want to make sure I can devote as much room as possible to new bands.
I noticed Leeds group Shut Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames in an interview with everyone's favorite indie/noise/freakout group ¡Forward, Russia!. The bands share hometowns and a penchant for music on the more spastic side, with influences ranging from Les Savy Fav to !!! to Q and Not U. Their debut single "Signal Noise / Kingdom Of Goats" will be out on Dance To The Radio later this month. Plus, you can find them on the latest Dance To The Radio compilation, What We All Want.
MySpace: Shut Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames
Audio: "Pterodactyl Skin Trousers"
Boston: Shows [Week of 04.10.06]
Peter Walker: New Album & Contest
Dear ________, Peter Walker is a really _____ guy. He makes me feel so ___________ when I listen to his music. Sometimes I even feel like ______-ing to it. Actually, I feel like ______-ing right now, just thinking about his _______. I am a very ______ writer. Peter's new record is going to be out of this ________. I'm not ______-ing. O.K. ______ to ya later. Love, _______
I thought that little Madlib-type thing above was pretty neat, so I stole it from Peter's MySpace profile. You should use it to send a note to your BF or GF or BFF when you tell them about Peter Walker's new album, which comes out on Tuesday. It's filled with nods to the brilliant Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, coming off as an album that those men would produce after a heavy diet of Grandaddy and Earlimart.
This is a guy that you need to hear, and to help get the album in your hands as quickly as possible, I am giving away two prize packs that will contain the new album, a shirt and some stickers. The first two people that can e-mail me the name of Doc Brown's dog in Back To The Future get prize packs!
MySpace: Peter WalkerAudio: "What Do I Know"[p.s. - I'll be away until Sunday at Macrock, so no posts until next week]
Macrock is celebrating it's 10th year and for those of you that are not in the know, it's a conference/festival run by the staff of WXJM in Harrisonburg, VA. This will be my sixth time going, and I've seen countless awesome bands in the past, like Marion Delgado, Piebald, Q & Not U, The Beauty Pill, Antelope, Rainer Maria, The Dismemberment Plan, The Rah Bras and Fugazi, just to name a few! True, it is in the middle of nowhere, but a pass for the entire weekend is just $25 and the list of bands is solid, ranging from mellow indie rock to hip hop.
This year will be no different with appearances from Masta Ace, Voxtrot, Ris Paul Ric, The Walkmen and Aloha. The full schedule is up on the Macrock site.
Audio: Voxtrot "Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives"
Audio: Aloha "Your Eyes"
Audio: Ris Paul Ric "Purple Blaze"
Flashback Tuesday: Moped
As a teenager, I picked up on all of the usual suspects through college radio, from Fugazi and Jawbox to Superchunk to Guided By Voices, but there are a fair share of bands that never caught on that I still love to this day. Philly-area group Moped are one of those outfits that I still can not get enough of. They started out as a duo comprised of Bret Tobias and Bob Vanstone, and were later joined by Kara Lafty, who fleshed out the band's sound as well as wrote some of their most unforgettable songs. On the Tobias-penned tunes, the group was more or less Superchunk-lite, but when Lafty took the reins, Moped became everything that I wish Velocity Girl was: smart, bittersweet and not afraid to rock out. Unfortunately, they stuck together for only three years with in-fighting taking the band down.
Currently, Tobias is playing in The Bigger Lovers while Lafty spent time in Sonny Sixkiller and is now fronting The Jane Anchor.
Buy: The Horrible Truth About Moped
Audio: "Tom Waits For No One"
Audio: "Local 206"
Baseball's Opening Day: Orioles vs. Devil Rays
Anyone who knows me is well aware that the Baltimore Orioles have always been my team despite my Philly area upbringing. They opened this season with a bang, ruining the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 9-6 with a great pitching performance from Rodrigo Lopez and strong hitting performances from most of the team.
Luis Matos and Melvin Mora hit back-to-back home runs, as you can see Mora getting congratulated from Tejeda above!
Game #2 is Wednesday.
Boston: Shows [Week of 04.03.06]
Hey, it's Spring and that means tons of awesome shows every week! I'll be missing this weekend's shows since Macrock is happening in Virginia. Voxtrot, Aloha, Ris Paul Ric, Medications, Ultra Dolphins and several others are playing, plus there are a ton of panels and label showcases.
04.03: Art Brut/The Ponys/The Rogers Sisters @ Middle East Down
Beyond Art Brut being an utterly hilarious band, one thing a lot of people ignore is how incredibly tight this unit is. Their show at SXSW, while punctuated with Eddie Argos' smartass quips, held everyone in attendance at rapt attention for an entire hour despite it being well past a normal person's bedtime.
Audio: "Home Altars of Mexico"
04.03: The Duke Spirit/Unbusted/Nine Black Alps @ T.T. The Bears
While Nine Black Alps is great, The Duke Spirit is the real draw here. Lead singer Leila Moss conjures up P.J. Harvey on each song, and man, I totally love her name. Leila. Leila!
Audio: "Love Is An Unfamiliar Name"
04.04: Blackalicious @ The Paradise
04.05: Legendary Shackshakers/Rev Glasseye @ T.T. The Bears
04.06: Arab Strap @ Great Scott
04.06: South/Something For Rockets @ T.T. The Bears
04.07: Wolf Parade/Holy Fuck @ The Paradise
04.08: Protokill/The Casual Lean @ T.T. The Bears
04.08: Josh Rouse @ The Paradise
04.08: Beth Orton/Willy Mason @ Avalon
04.09: Wolfmother @ Great Scott
Wolfmother comes from Australia and brings the rock in a very dirty, dirty way.
04.09: Murs @ Middle East Down
California band Los Olvidados began as a solo project, but evolved into a unit that evokes images of Tom Petty, Limbeck or early Old 97's coupled with a pop sheen which make their songs hard to ignore and easy to get stuck in your head. They have several demos floating around, which should hold me over until their full-length comes out later this year. If the Old 97's were still this good, I might actually still be listening to them.
MySpace: Los Olvidados
Audio: "John Cougar, Melancholy"