Lit&Live with Leon of Athens

London-based singer/songwriter Leon of Athens talked with WGMU’s Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise to share details about his most recent album, Xenos (2018).


By: Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise

London-based singer/songwriter Leon of Athens talked with WGMU’s Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise to share details about his most recent album, Xenos (2018). Leon added insight about his U.S. tour and future endeavors.

For more information, go to leonofathens.com/.
Feature Photo By (Leon of Athens/Twitter).

Lit&Local with Ghoul Kids

Bay-area based thrash punk duo Ghoul Kids talked with WGMU’s Christian Hernandez to share details about their most recent album, Dead Beat (2018).


By: Christian Hernandez

Bay-area based thrash punk duo Ghoul Kids talked with WGMU’s Christian Hernandez to share details about their most recent album, Dead Beat (2018). Taylor and Bailey added insight about local California scene and future endeavors.

For full artist discography, go to open.spotify.com/artist/4c0lqzW0b…0S-u4bBY1dzFgaA/.

Feature Photo By (Ghoul Kids/Facebook).


Lit&Local with The Flavr Blue

Seattle-based trio The Flavr Blue talked with WGMU’s Jackie Reed to share details into their third album The Blue Dream (2017).


By: Jackie Reed

Seattle-based trio The Flavr Blue talked with WGMU’s Jackie Reed to share details into their third album The Blue Dream (2017). Hollis of The Flavr Blue offered insight into artist collaborations and future tour plans.

For full artist info, go to theflavrblue.com/.

Feature Photo By (The Flavr Blue/Official Website).


 

Album Review: Albert Hammond Jr.’s Francis Trouble (2018)

Albert_Hammond_Jr_-_Francis_Trouble_1290_1290

“The Stroke” shows off why he doesn’t need Casablancas and company on AHJ’s defiant fourth album.

Top Tracks: Muted Beatings, Set to Attack, Stop and Go, Rocky’s Late Night

Rating: 8.1/10


By: Mikey Bamarni

Albert Hammond Jr. was the first Stroke to go out on his own in 2006 and has the most solo tracks under his belt. His first album Yours To Keep (2006) showed off a sound that despite being very guitar-driven and reminiscent of The Strokes, had enough originality thanks to his unique vocal delivery and summer-vibe upbeat riffs that only AHJ could produce. He followed that up with a mediocre sophomore slump album Como Te Llama (2008). Later, The Strokes got back together and released 2 full albums and an EP. Since 2013, Albert has released the great AHJ (2013), a solid third record, Monetary Masters (2015), and now, his best album yet.

Francis Trouble (2018) is an album where Jr. discovers a fresh and energetic identity – note, an identity inspired by a twin brother who was sadly never born, but whose fingernail was still found in the afterbirth. This revelation, which he didn’t learn until age 36, brings to the forefront that frontman swagger that he lacked in the past.

On the first single “Muted Beatings”, Albert channels the sounds of 2009 Paramore with far more personal lyrics and extremely intricate arrangements. “Rocky’s Late Night” is another highlight off the record. This track is captivating with infectious guitar work and deeply personal lyrics about his growth as a person and grasping how to deal with life’s changes. The beautifully harmonized and slow-building jam “Set to Attack” also soars and is sure to be a staple for live shows down the road.

Unfortunately not all the songs are winners. The second teaser “Far Away Truths” falls short when it’s up against other tracks in Hammond’s discography; it also just sounds like a weak Strokes song.  A few other tracks suffer due to similar reasons, not bad songs by any means, but underwhelming.

With all that being said, Albert has made it clear that even if The Strokes don’t get together to record any time soon, we’ll still have one-fifth of the band. He’s putting his heart and soul out here, and it’s pretty damn catchy. All in all, the future looks bright.

Feature Photo By (Albert Hammond Jr./Official Website).

Dan Auerbach at 9:30 Club

It was a perfect close to possibly one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.


By: Jesse Benitez

Whoever said rock ‘n’ roll is dead is probably unfamiliar with Akronite Dan Auerbach. His contributions in songwriting, record producing, involvement with The Black Keys, The Arcs, and many other musical groups are prime examples of his extensive talent and knowledge when it comes to authentic, modern American rock.

Dan Auerbach rocked the roof off the 9:30 Club during a sold out show alongside the Easy Eye Sound Revue, Robert Finley, and Shannon and the Clams on Thursday, March 22. Shannon and the Clams kicked off the night with “Ozma,” the fourth track from their third studio album, Dreams in the Rat House (2013). Lead singer Shannon Shaw’s profound vocals created naturally sympathetic vibrations through the floorboards of the venue, which carried over into surfy and quirky tunes like “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Boy,” a song from their fifth studio album Onion (2018)- a collaboration with producer Dan Auerbach and the Easy Eye Sound record label. The band’s ear splitting guitar riffs shrilled in pleasant harmony throughout their performance, noticeable in “I Will Miss the Jasmine,” off Gone by the Dawn (2015). They closed their opening set with a mellower jam, “Did You Love Me,” a ballad that made me recognize how unbelievable it felt to watch this band perform directly in front of me at that very moment.

Shannon and the Clams left me so impressed that I was almost questioning whether Auerbach and the Easy Eye Sound Revue would embody the similar energy and allure. It should be a sin to even let that cross your mind, for the Easy Eye Sound Revue is composed of legendary musicians who could not disappoint in the slightest. Lead guitarist Russ Pahl, was an outstanding gem, whose transcendent sliding riffs and sublime guitar solos radiated through tunes like “Stand by My Girl” and “Shine on Me,” from Auerbach’s second studio album, Waiting on a Song (2017). The crowd sang along to a breezy and refreshing melody, “King of a One Horse Town,” before Robert Finley joined the stage for wholesomely soulful anthems. He gracefully sang “Holy Wine” from the top of his lungs and “Medicine Woman,” both from his newest LP, Goin’ Platinum! (2017). Finley brought the audience together to celebrate good ol’ nostalgic blues through vivacious lyrics and crisp, electric chords crackling on stage.

Auerbach ended the night with an emotional solo he had only played twice before in the nation’s capital, “Goin’ Home,” the last track from his debut solo album titled, Keep It Hid (2009). A personal tune such as this one created the most beautiful and intimate atmosphere that Thursday night. It was a perfect close to possibly one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Feature Photo By (9:30 Club/Official Website).

Porches at Black Cat DC

Photo By (Fielder Wise/WGMU).

Porches hit the mark with their beautifully Tumblr-grunge aesthetic.


By: Fielder Wise

On March 22, Porches played at the Black Cat in DC, despite the rancid weather.

The first opener was New York-based band named Palberta. The all-girl rock group were super cute and dorky. It was a weirdly grunge rock style of music. After their performance, I expected another odd set with following acts.

The second opener was London-trio Girl Ray. The lead singer came out confident, with a guitar that taped to its strap. What a total switch compared to the primary opener. Instead of a rock approach, these girls mellowed out. They fused alternative with electronic. They got a stiff crowd to sway, which in ways came to a surprise. I could imagine their music be played at a chill house party. Her vocals beautified an already interesting showcase.

Porches came on last as the headliner. The performance that frontman Aaron Maine gave was euphoric. I had no idea of what to expect from him. Without any predispositions, I was truly stunned. The fan base was supportive. The crowd was interactive. Everyone was jamming to songs off of The House (2018) and dancing in unison. At points, Maine talked with the crowd – something I hadn’t seen in concerts prior.

That was something unique. Typically, I feel like artists are distant to their fans, but this being at an intimate venue, there was greater opportunity for this to happen.

Maine was very appreciate of the crowd he always gave his thanks after each song and repeatedly told the crowd how has was for them to be there. Though he had stage shyness and a quiet aura, the music still managed to shine through. And let’s not forget his signature butt shake.

At the beginning of each song, he’d give the crowd a little show, and everyone would go wild! His vibe was everyone else’s.

I didn’t even know Porches before the concert, but now knowing, I will definitely see him again in concert. It was just a beautiful and memorable night. The music was very chill vibes that got you to dance. Additionally, Maine’s stage dancing and crawling with him singing got me just to love the experience more.

 

Moose Blood at 9:30 Club

I’ve been following McCafferty’s rise to stardom within the emo scene since they began writing music in 2012, and this tour is without a doubt the largest bill they’ve been on yet in their career.


By: Christian Hernandez

On Sunday March 18, UK based emo/pop punk band Moose Blood played a banger of a set at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. The Hopeless Records band began their North American tour on March 14, hitting the road with Arizona indie rock band Lydia and Ohio based indie punk band McCafferty. The band’s third studio album, I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore (2018), was released on March 9 and has proven to be some of the bands strongest material. The combination of the lead singer’s (Eddy Brewerton) very sharp vocals and the heavy riffs from lead guitarist (Mark Osbourne), this album, in my eye, is proving to be on the best pop punk albums of 2018 so far.

The night started off with McCafferty taking the stage promptly at 8 p.m., playing for a nearly packed house. I’ve been following McCafferty’s rise to stardom within the emo scene since they began writing music in 2012, and this tour is without a doubt the largest bill they’ve been on yet in their career. It was cool to see them playing at the 9:30 Club rather than a small bar like the Strange Matter in Richmond, VA where I first saw them a few months ago. They started the set with their newest single, “Strain,” which got the crowd dancing and warmed up quickly. Crowd favorites such as “Alligator Skin Boots,” and “Yours, Mines, Ours”, were the highlights of the set for me. McCafferty’s second studio album, Yarn, is set to be released on March 23rd through Triple Crown Records.

Photo By (Christian Hernandez/WGMU).

Photo By (Christian Hernandez/WGMU).

Lydia, an indie rock band from Gilbert, Arizona went on next and they were better than I had expected. Before the show I had never heard of Lydia before, despite them being an active band since 2003. Although I didn’t know who they were, it seemed like everyone else in the venue did! They played a very hyped set that was accompanied by nearly everyone singing and dancing along to each song played. My favorite part of their time on stage was the bands surprise cover of OutKast’s song “Ms. Jackson“. Their seventh studio album, Liquor (2018) is set to release July 13 and I will for sure keep my eyes and ears out for that release!

Finally, Moose Blood ended the night off by playing 18 of their most popular songs in their discography. Before they began to play any music, lead singer, Eddy Brewerton said to the audience that he had come down with a case of laryngitis and that he would try his best to give us a proper good show. They opened with “Talk in Your Sleep”, the lead single off their newest album. Things really began to amp up when the band transitioned into the song “Bukowski”, which is the perfect sing-a-long to get everyone moving and the momentum continued through the rest of the night. Other notable songs performed that night was “Knuckles” and “Cherry”, which Eddy Brewerton said to the crowd that it was his favorite song the band has ever written because he dedicates it to his wife and daughter whenever they play it live. Although the vocals weren’t the strongest due to illness, the band made up for it with their showmanship and overall putting on a banger of a show.

 

 

Coast Modern at 9:30 Club

Photo By (Fielder Wise/WGMU).

Photo By (Fielder Wise/WGMU).

Coast Modern managed to get a still crowd dancing from the very start.


By: Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise

Weeknights make it difficult to go out into the city, especially when D.C. remains in a weather rut. However, Coast Modern‘s show still went on. The show on March 19, hosted at the 9:30 Club, was an experience unlike any other.

DC-based indie group Dr. Robinson’s Fiasco started the concert. Lead singer Ian Robinson happens to be the cousin of one of the band members in Coast Modern, and had superb vocals. The other instruments were well played, but there was very little stage performance or movement. Not visually appealing for an opener, but they did impress and set an upbeat tone.

Next came another local band, Maryland trio SHAED. A cute girl (vocalist Chelsea Lee) came out with two other guys (twin brothers Spencer Ernst and Max Ernst) – one her fiancé and the other her best friend – which ultimately made for a sort of power group. Songs like “Too Much” and “Perfume” were reminiscent of Disclosure and Lorde, with a touch of ZHU.

Despite faulty equipment, SHAED still sounded wonderful. Their show was heavily driven by technology, especially their computer and a keyboard set up. At first their computer crashed, but that didn’t stop them. They made it up by methodical lighting and a minimalist stage presence. The design allowed for Chelsea to take full control of the stage, without being overlooked by lights and elaborate props. In this case, less was more. Simple stage design, juxtaposed by Chelsea’s vocals and interactivity, and lighting, made for an epic sequel following Dr. Robinson’s Fiasco.

Shortly thereafter, LA-duo (Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp) Coast Modern took the stage. Like the previous artists before them, they also had a minimalist stage. A few LED lights simplified their performance and let their music really show through. California vibes oozed from their setlist, especially singles off their recent self-titled album Coast Modern (2017). Lead vocalist Coleman Trapp used the space to bring songs like “Hollow Life” and “Guru” to life. His stage confidence was reflective of Coast Modern’s upbeat, summery beach sound – quite similar to COIN, Hippo Campus, and BØRNS.

The band managed to get a very still crowd dancing from the very start. Trapp dancing around the stage singing helped enhance the peppiness of the music. Overall, Coast Modern is a great band to listen to if you want to get your dance moves going. Although vocals were shaky and off-key at points, it was still a lively show. Even though the vocals were not the best, Coast Modern was still able to get a crowd dancing and hyped up.

 

Album Review: THENBHD’s The Neighbourhood (2018)

thenbhd

Though The Neighbourhood lacks a full makeover of a sound, the redundancy in their current melodies are used to their benefit.

Top Tracks: Flowers, Scary Love, Reflections

Rating: 7.5/10


By: Jackie Reed

After years of quietly releasing live session tracks and solo projects, The Neighbourhood returns to the boyband arena.

Their self-titled album The Neighbourhood (2018) released on Friday, March 8. It’s a conglomeration of new wave singles and songs pulled from previous EPs – particularly their Hard – EP (2017) and To Imagine – EP (2018). Likewise, they pulled from Hard to Imagine – EP (2018) as well, though this EP is literally Hard and To Imagine meshed into one, branded-new EP. A little overboard, but it lets their name be known.

Songs like “Scary Love”, “Sadderdaze”, and “You Get Me So High” are dark anthems synthesized with reverbed vocals, pop clicks, crisp drumbeats, and echoing instrumentals. These act as the foundation for the album – they are key tracks that define what the group is best remembered for. Other tracks like “Nervous” and “Void” came out days before the album release. Such tracks offer similar tones and vernacular heard throughout the album.

Let’s not forget that there were new singles released solely out of this album. Take “Flowers”, the first single. It’s a cinematic introduction to the album, which reconciles the band’s beach sound and sophisticated image. “Blue” is another one new to the ear. It’s a testament to Jesse Rutherford’s solo project & (2017), an album embraced by his tenor vocals and synthy hip-hop music beds.

Though The Neighbourhood lacks a full makeover of a sound, the redundancy in their current melodies are used to their benefit. Typical distant guitar and static vocals are techniques they manage to get away with. Much of their interludes and existential sounds are drawn from characteristics found in previous albums – say Wiped Out! (2015) and #000000 & #FFFFFF (2014).

The album as a whole is no showstopper. However, it does reclaim the band’s territory in today’s independent artist game, ultimately gratifying long-time fans and impressing new ones.

Feature Photo By (The Neighbourhood/Facebook). 

Lit&Live with Luke James Shaffer

By: Kate Klajbor and Jackie Reed

American singer-songwriter Luke James Shaffer stopped by WGMU’s on-air studio to reflect on his experiences making covers and original songs, tour life, living in New York and DC, current projects, and future plans. He will be performing at Volition’s Open Mic on March 8.

Follow Luke James Shaffer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and their official website for updates.

To stream/buy Luke James Shaffer’s music, tune in to his iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, and YouTube pages.

Feature Photo By (Luke James Shaffer/Official Website).


Volition Open Mic – Music Industry Night

Featuring Mannywellz, Luke James Shaffer, & Sydney Franklin

FREE FOOD & SWAG

Thurs, Mar 8

7:00pm-10:00pm

GMU’s JC Bistro // Fairfax, VA

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