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

Lit&Live with Mannywellz

By: Jackie Reed

Nigerian-born and Maryland-based artist Mannywellz stopped by WGMU’s on-air studio to share insight about his debut album Soulfro (2018), tour life, his DACA experience, and future plans. He will be performing at Union Stage on March 5, and at Volition’s Open Mic on March 8.

Interested in attending the March 5 show? House Studios will be providing round-trip transportation from GMU to Union Stage. Only requires the purchase of a ticket to the show (links are below). E-mail Daniel Strauch at dan@housestudios.com by Friday, March 2nd to secure a spot on the party bus.

For interview and in-studio links, go to https://soundcloud.com/wgmu/sets/litlive-with-mannywellz/.

Follow Mannywellz on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and their official website for updates.

To stream/buy Mannywellz’ music, tune in to his iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and YouTube pages.


Union Stage & Songbyrd Present: Mannywellz

GA: $15

Tickets

Mon, Mar 5

Doors 6:00pm

Union Stage // Washington, DC

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

Tyler, The Creator at The Anthem

Photo By (Sasha Toophanie/WGMU).

Photo By (Sasha Toophanie/WGMU).

On February 25, all hell broke loose.


By: Jackie Reed

On February 25, all hell broke loose.

The Anthem hosted an epic, mind-numbing show with Taco (of Odd Future), Vince Staples, and Tyler, The Creator.

Taco shared a DJ set of hip-hop tracks that embody radio charts today – think Drake’s “God’s Plan”, Kendrick Lamar’s “Backstreet Freestyle”, and Goldlink’s “Crew”. What a fantastic start.

About 20 minutes after Taco’s set, a red microwave countdown pierced the stage. When the countdown reached the end, Vince Staples came through. The Compton rapper dropped tunes off his most recent album, Big Fish Theory (2017). In-between songs, news gathering footage mingled on the screen. Video static filled the auditorium inevitably, like white noise. Lyrics and chants from “745”, “Yeah Right” (feat. Flume, Kendrick Lamar, Kučka, and SOPHIE), and “BagBak” echoed in the crowd, along with older tracks like “Prima Donna” (feat. A$AP Rocky) and “Norf Norf”. To conclude, Staples’ live set was atypical, offbeat, and immeasurable in style.

By that time it was 9:30p.m. Upon Vince Staples’ opening, stage crew adjusted the set, prepping for Tyler. Though the stage was small, its colors and natural elements truly brought it to life, even from afar. Green turf wrapped along the floor and realistic trees were placed kindly at each direction.

At around 10:05p.m., all was dim. The cinematic interlude of “Where This Flower Blooms” (feat. Frank Ocean) started to loop. And then there he was. Tyler, The Creator. That is when all hell broke loose. Time gone stagnant. There was nothing but joy, but anxiety, but love for his appearance. Thousands of music lovers sang along in unison, to “Where This Flower Blooms” and to those following. Though he only dropped a couple verses from “Pothole” (feat. Jaden Smith) and “Boredom” (feat. Rex Orange County and Anna Of The North), the flow was still there. At points, he continued his rap flow without musical accompaniment – just the sound of thousands of voices following along. Along with his expected Flower Boy tunes, fans got a listening glimpse from the archives, with icons like “SMUCKERS” (feat. Lil Wayne and Kanye West), “Tamale”, and “IFHY” (feat. Pharrell Williams).

During breaks, he addressed his mood to the crowd – he was sick yet continued to thrive. Likewise, his character came through when acknowledging everyone in the crowd – those in the pit, in the stands, and in transit (those in attempt of meeting him by pushing through the already crammed space).

Without an encore, his send-off was “See You Again” (feat. Kali Uchis). A fitting departure.

Overall, Tyler, The Creator is an unconventional character that’s made a name for himself in the hip-hop industry over the years. He is best known for his connections to Odd Future (aka OFWGKTA), his GOLF fashion line, his silly YouTube videos, his artist collaborations, and recently, his Grammy-nominated rap album Flower Boy (2017). Last night at The Anthem was one for the books. It was a collection of everything that Tyler is made of, and so much more.

 

 

Jordan Rakei at Union Stage

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Though Rakei is well-known for his collaborations with artists like Disclosure and Tom Misch, this show exclusively fronted his own works, rather than reminiscing along to his previously successful singles with such deejays.


By: Jackie Reed

Jordan Rakei performed at Union Stage on Saturday, Feb. 24. His show was a jazzy set which emulated his most recent album release, Wallflower (2017).

Moroccan-singer Dounia opened up the show at around 10 p.m. She sang tracks off of her debut album, Intro To (2017). Her vocals surpass hazy tones and youthful attitudes, similar to singers Halsey and Willow Smith. Her cheerful and bopping performance was complete with fresh songs like “Status”, “Casablanca”, and “So Cool”. Dounia impressed a relatively tame crowd, and audience members ultimately came to appreciate her bubbly, high-energy character when she took the spotlight.

Thereafter, Jordan Rakei kickstarted his show. This was his first appearance in Washington, D.C. and at Union Stage. Though Rakei is well-known for his collaborations with artists like Disclosure and Tom Misch, this show exclusively fronted his own works, rather than reminiscing along to his previously successful singles with such deejays.

His R&B vocals share chords with other soul artists, like Sam Smith, Sampha, and Khalid. In this performance, Rakei shared Wallflower intimately and with a more streamline interlude of jazz, guitar, and piano-driven songs. Rakei opened with “Eye To Eye”, following with other tracks like “Goodbyes” and “Chemical Coincidence”. Overall, Rakei’s performance as a multi-genre artist excels as he continues to build himself around a community of music lovers that actually care and take notice.

 

Album Review: MGMT’s Little Dark Age (2018)

mgmt1

MGMT show they aren’t done writing beautifully trippy pop songs.

Top Tracks: Little Dark Age, Me and Michael, TSLAMP, Hand it Over

Rating 9.1/10


By: Mikey Bamarni

MGMT did something a little different when they released their first single “Little Dark Age”, the title track, to the world back in October. They went 80’s goth. The decade is clearly making a huge comeback, but the band went about it a little darker, with eerie lyrics and musical tones and a music video inspired by The Cure. It is their most pop friendly single since they released the now-classic Oracular Spectacular (2007) singles 10 years prior.

Two months later, they released the much trippier song “When You Die”, reminiscent of Congratulations (2010) – another “pop” song that has enough originality and MGMT weirdness to make it stand out. The next pre-album single is the beautiful and Beach Boys influenced “Hand it Over.” It’s the slow jam off the album and perhaps the best track of the bunch.

Other fantastic songs from the record are “Me and Michael,” which feels like it was George Michael inspired, due to its vocal production, delivery, and the name George Michael. It’s destined to be a hit. The hilariously-meta music video even predicts that it will be popular. There is also the groovy and psychedelic “TSLAMP” or “Time Spent Looking At My Phone.” This is a definite jam with lyrics that may hit some a little too close to home.

With all that said, the album isn’t perfect. “Days That Got Away” leaves something to be desired, and at times the album can sound a bit monotonous.

Overall Little Dark Age shines immensely. It’s a great introductory to the band for new listeners, as well as those who enjoyed the pop appeal of Oracular Spectacular and the experimentation of Congratulations.

Feature Photo By (MGMT/Facebook). 

STRFKR at 9:30 Club

Photo By (Jesse Benitez/WGMU Radio).

Photo By (Jesse Benitez/WGMU Radio).

In a matter of minutes, however, the numbing dreamscape synths spliced into electrifying energy, along with beautifully synchronized patterns and projections blazing among the crowd.


By: Jesse Benitez

Indie electro pop band, STRFKR, made waves through D.C. during their sold out show at the 9:30 Club on Saturday, February 17. They began their performance with “Hungry Ghost” off their third-studio album, Reptilians (2012). Commencing in utter darkness, with merely a captivating display of their iconic Jupiter (2009 & 2012) logo as a backdrop, it was evident that this show would eventually take a drastic angle. A fourth of the way through their set, the level of simplicity and sophistication was easily recognizable in “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” from their first and self-titled album, Starfucker (2008). In a matter of minutes, however, the numbing dreamscape synths spliced into electrifying energy, along with beautifully synchronized patterns and projections blazing among the crowd.

Accompanied by their touring band, the Reptaliens, the audience rejoiced to the bouncy beats of “Millions” while the Reptaliens froliced across the stage, dancing provocatively with one another, all while wearing eccentric astronaut suits. It was interestingly bizarre, but quite an indulging sight to witness, particularly when they blasted confetti onto the mass of concert-goers. The lively bunch went on to retrieve props, one of which happened to be an inflatable raft shaped like a swan. One by one, they crowd surfed through a pumped crowd while “Girls Just Want to Have Fun (2009)” reverberated off the walls of the venue.

STRFKR ended their set with the title track from their fifth studio album, Being No One, Going Nowhere (2016). Initially, a delicately nostalgic and melancholic tune such as this one seemed almost inappropriate to end the night with. But upon further reflection, they proved themselves to be truly unforgettable and it was undoubtedly a clever move from their part. This ignited the crowd to demand an encore, to satisfy their crave for one more galvanizing gimmick and fuel them with one last drop of exhilaration. And surely, it worked.

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