Boo! Hello Frederick, did I scare you? Probably not, but some of you may have started thinking that I died and went to heaven after the amazing Big Bullet Fest shindig in Shepherdstown, WV over Earth Day/ Easter weekend since that was my last post for a few weeks now. While figuratively that may have been true, no, I am not some ghost blogger writing to you from some other dimension (although, that would be pretty cool), I’ve simply been hop scotching through towns in California and Oregon and just haven’t had a chance to put fingers to keys. There’s lots I want to tell you about, especially the awesome video documentary I’m working on for the review of the first annual Big Bullet Fest , but for now I thought a Bucket List would be good buck shot coverage of the here and now ringing between my ears.
Hymn for Her – I had hoped to write more in-depth (I still might) about Hymn for Her’s show at Café Nola a while back now and their new CD Lucy & Wayne & The Amairican Stream . Plainly the show was great, the husband/wife Philadelphia duo is very charming in person and so is their stage set up which consisted of a cool stars and stripes kick drum, homemade slide guitar of sorts, and a projector which flicked through nostalgic Americana photos. My personal favorite highlight of the show was the cover of Led Zeppelin’s bron-y-aur-stomp , just super fun to hear live and technically a really good cover of a very difficult song. Having enjoyed the show, I picked up the new CD and have been letting it spin on often occasion in the right settings. I like listening to Hymn for Her when I’m traveling down country highways more so in the Eastern U.S. than anywhere. It’s not an album to listen too on short errand running trips; you’ll get mad if you have to interrupt the songs which are like a shot of strong slow burning liquor. The all too real subject matter of the lyrics and that crazy little homemade slide guitar set it apart from typical Americana acts. Pick up a copy of the new album, but more importantly go see the live, that’s where you’ll get the good stuff.
Those Darlins – I caught these Tennessee stationed gals (…mostly. The drummer is male.) on a whim. I was in Baltimore , I was hungry, and I remembered The Demon Beat was playing Golden West Café that night, so I headed over there. The Demon Beat was actually supposed to open unbeknown to me for Those Darlins. Turned out Those Darlins had to play the earlier set and jet, but not before getting the house moving with some lo-fi female punk rock from their latest album Screws Get Loose . Those Darlins are another band who have built a snow ball of popularity for themselves based on a niche of life experience, sexual orientation, and simplistic but emotionally conveying songs. Check out Be Your Bro from Screws Get Loose.
Secret Mountains – I covet, I feind, I love the Secret Mountains at the moment. This Baltimore band has the most beautiful instrument arrangements and female lead voice over any other indie rock band I’ve come across. I took both Kaddish and the new Rejoice EP with me on a short trip to Yosemite National Park and the experience was near religious. Don’t get me wrong though it wasn’t Yosemite that made Secret Mountains a glorious thing, regardless of scenery Kaddish and Rejoice (both together is extra awesome) will make your day more beautiful. They’re from Baltimore too. Yay, Baltimore bands!
Weekends – Another Baltimore up and coming band. Weekends lean on the more experimental side of rock, but the driving rhythms and guitar riffs never fail to keep coming at you. I’ve been breaking out the new album Strange Cultures on the hot weather days we’ve had so far and it sounds real good, its going to get a lot of play this summer. Yay, Baltimore bands!
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – I used to write off this band whenever I heard someone mention their name because frankly I thought the name was cheesy and annoying. Somehow though, I found my self clicking around on some songs one day and realized that I really like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. They are possibly my favorite pop indie band at the moment and I only say “possibly” because their new album won’t be released for another two months and I’ve been going on a small collection of songs off the Horse Power EP/ My Love is Easy: Remixes album. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and the Generationals are coming to DC’s Red Palace Friday, May 13th!!!
Sic Alps – This is the band that I am most excited to watch continue to evolve. Sic Alps are a rather obscure noise pop group from San Francisco . They have released tons of EP’s and a few full length albums to date, so they are not necessarily a new band. I’m excited about their recent endeavors because the former very consistently talented noise pop group has swayed direction recently and gone for a more nostalgic psychedelic type of garage rock on their recent L. Mansion 7” and the full length Napa Asylum that followed. They worked with Ty Segall on L. Mansion and kept their classic artistic free form style on Napa Asylum. With the right ingredients something truly brilliant could come out of these guys.
The Christmas Lights – A band of young men out of Frostburg, MD and associated with my fav Big Bullet Records , The Christmas Lights literally just released their first full length album, Good Luck Machine and it’s a pretty great piece of rock with electronics mixed in. Thrilling keyboard sequences, Goth like vocals, and a solid rock base all make them stand out. It’s an album I easily spin a couple times in row. It makes you want to jam and dance at the same time. The Christmas Lights performed live at Big Bullet Fest and were equally as solid live as recorded.
White Wives - White Wives are a double edged sword of a punk rock band. One minute they are in your face with some aggressive grittiness and next minute they hit you with something more sweet and approachable. Both styles are melded together with punk elements and lots of energy. They are a Pittsburg collective consisting of members from Anti-Flag, Dandelion Snow, The Code, and American Armada. Their first EP release entitled Situationist is just a tease of good things to come and includes a great version of the classic Where Is My Mind.
...Other stuff that will be in my hands shortly includes J Kutchma and Prison Book Club , two more favorites I picked up at Big Bullet Fest.