September 23, 2010

Klaxons‘ show at the 9:30 Club with Baby Monster this past Tuesday was long overdue.  Having sparingly made any live appearances since 2009, this tour was the first chance for stateside fans to catch a glimpse of the band since their rise to indie stardom off of the seminal Myths of the Near Future and in anticipation of the US release of their second album, Surfing the Void.  The band split their set pretty evenly between the two albums.  It was nice to hear live renditions of Surfing, especially given that the band was forced to re-record it after being told by their label that the album was too experimental.  Although the final result is far from inaccessible, you could get the sense at the show that the band’s latest work is a bit darker and more psychedelic than their older material.  That is, until they exploded into “Echoes,” the first single off of new album and perhaps my favorite Klaxons track yet.

Although the show was a great exhibition of Klaxons’ new material, it was also a powerful reminder of how amazing Myths of the Near Future was.  It’s unbelievable how many amazing tracks were packed onto that album.  There were no glaring omissions in their set list as Klaxons powered through the record’s best, including “Golden Skans,” “Gravity’s Rainbow,” and “Two Receivers.”  The highlight of the show (aside from the Peace Walker) was the closer, “Atlantis to Interzone.”  The raucous new-rave anthem set the room on fire and brought a pleasant end to what had been an amazing night.

MP3: Klaxons – “Echoes”
MP3: Klaxons – “Atlantis to Interzone”

Special thanks to Jeffrey Martin for taking these awesome shots of the show, the rest of which you’ll find after the jump.


Read the rest of this entry »

You Are My Dream

June 8, 2010

I hate the term “chillwave” as much as the next guy, but after checking out MillionYoung at DC9 last night, a foray into the pseudo-genre will be necessary for just this one post.  I knew very little about Mike Diaz’s project before the show, having only dipped my toe into his collection of homemade ambient electro-pop, but it only took a few songs to realize how well it translated to the stage.  Diaz’s beats take on a whole new energy in the live setting, keeping those dreamy soundscapes but backing them up with enough energy to get everyone in the room moving.  He also proves that there’s more to the man behind the laptop, keeping an animated stage presence while manning multiple instruments at a time.  The DIY feel of his recorded material permeates into his live performance, giving it a nice touch of charm, although I can only imagine the types of jams Diaz will be dropping once his music gets some better production.  All in all, a fantastic show.  I wasn’t quite the sweaty mess that Zack was after Passion Pit, but I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend a Monday night.

Head over to MillionYoung’s website to grab his Sunndreamm EP, and if you like that make sure to check out the Be So True EP as well.

MP3: MillionYoung – “Feel the Same”
MP3: MillionYoung – “Cynthia (Letting Up Despite Great Faults Remix)”


And My Dreams, It’s Never Quite as it Seems

June 8, 2010

Last Thursday, I luckily got the chance to see two of my favorite bands (and another that I’m beginning to fall in love with) at the 9:30 Club here in Choc. City; Passion Pit and Tokyo Police Club (and DOM). More accurately, I should’ve seen DOM, but Pork Slap Pale Ale and Moo Thunder Stout delayed my arrival until part of the way through TPC’s set, missing DOM altogether. The boys from Ontario did not disappoint, playing a nice balance of songs from A Lesson in Crime, Elephant Shell, and their newest effort, Champ (which we discussed here a few days ago). TPC was their typical high-energy self, finishing up with a particularly passionate version of “Nature of the Experiment,” which set the stage nicely for one of the best performances I have seen in a few years.

MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Wait Up (Boots of Danger) [Passion Pit Remix]”

If you haven’t noticed yet, writing concert reviews is not my forte. I wrestled with the idea of just posting a few photos and a jam for you in lieu of an actual review, but the show put on by Passion Pit last week was so mesmerizing, I had to at least try to put it into words. They played EVERYTHING off both Chunk of Change and Manners, save for “Seaweed Song” and “Cuddle Fuddle” with such infectious vigor that I couldn’t contain myself. In fact, it got passionate (zing!) enough that my main bro Matt’s clothes couldn’t contain him (see epic bro preparing his best Petey Pablo impersonation). I had seen PP last June right after the release of Manners, and, while the show was entertaining, it was clear that the group needed to refine their live sound. Well….they did, in a big way. After lead singer Michael Angelakos informed the raucous crowd that he had heard that D.C. concert-goers didn’t dance, the mob responded with an hour of constant raging the likes of which D.C. hasn’t ever seen.

But wait, there’s more. They returned for an encore, playing “Let Your Love Grow Tall.” Then, the most amazing thing happened. I heard a few chords of what I assumed was a cover, and all of my friends began to look at each other. We all immediately realized that we were about to be blessed with one of the sweetest covers of The Cranberries “Dreams” ever, and that’s meant to be a compliment. The fact that the band had every single dude in the crowd singing “all my life, is changing every day” in falsetto and screaming the chorus of ooohs is a testament to the electric atmosphere running through the club that night. After finishing with a explosive version of “Sleepyhead,” the band waltzed off stage, leaving an adoring crowd in absolute shock. I was a sweaty mess, and I’m pretty sure I still haven’t recovered.

Check out the studio version of their cover of “Dreams” which I only discovered after the show, as well as some sweet pictures of the show after the jump.

MP3: Passion Pit – “Dreams”

Read the rest of this entry »

You and I Both Are Nothing but Thieves

June 2, 2010

There are few albums I’m looking forward to more this summer than Steel Train’s third, self-titled release.  Not much has been revealed about it so far, but the guys over at MonkeyWhale filmed a stripped-down, intimate performance of one of the record’s songs, “Bullet.”  As I’ve said before, Steel Train’s headed in a whole new direction and they’ll definitely be turning heads once the album drops on June 29th.

If you haven’t yet listened to Steel Train‘s already-released tracks, grab “You And I Undercover” below and check out our previous post on “Turnpike Ghost.”

MP3: Steel Train – “You and I Undercover”

Watch the video for “Bullet” after the jump.


Read the rest of this entry »

Matt & Kim, Diplo, Major Lazer @ Rock’n’Roll Hotel

June 22, 2009


Guest blogger and former college roommate Josh Walker attended the Matt & Kim, Diplo, and Major Lazer show at Rock’n’Roll Hotel last Saturday. He was kind enough to give us some insight into what exactly went down:

Diplo and Major Lazer put on an epic set at the Rock and Roll Hotel in D.C. on Saturday. 500 or so party goers cramed into the intimate venue to hear all three artists spin sets well into the night. While I regrettably missed the Matt & Kim set, I arrived just in time to see Diplo and Major Lazer take the stage together. The two spun mind-numbing and irresistably danceable beats while scantily-clad dancers put on a show fit for a strip club. The night redefined what constitutes a true dance party. Well done Bacardi for putting this show together.

MP3: Dead Prez – “Hip Hop (Diplo Remix)”

MP3: Major Lazer – “Hold the Line (ft. Mr. Lexx & Santigold)”

Check out some more pictures after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

[202] Wale at 9:30 Club – June 3rd

June 16, 2009


[202] is a new feature here at ATG where we point the spotlight on up-and-coming musicians in the DMV (DC/MD/VA) area.

If you reside in the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia) area, you have to have been living under a rock for the past two years not to have been swept up in the hype that surrounds D.C.-based hip hop newcomer Wale. Bursting onto the scene in early 2006 with “W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.”, his flawless remix of the Justice classic, Wale has been wowing audiences with an undeniably unique flow and an uncanny ability to reference pop culture without sounding like US Weekly set to music. The 24-year-old has become the shining beacon of hope for the D.C. music scene, a city that hasn’t seen itself under the spotlight musically since Bill Clinton jammed on his sax back in the nineties. After signing to Mark Ronson’s Allido Records, Wale has released multiple mixtapes, building a fervent fan base before releasing a single LP (don’t worry though, Attention:Deficit drops sometime this Summer) and has been featured on tracks by Ronson and The Roots. Wale has gained most of his fame for his remixes of Lily Allen (”Smile”), M.I.A. (”Boyz”), and the aforementioned Justice jam.

Wale represents a new wave of hip hop artists; ones who are so connected to the popular culture that they are able to use every available media outlet to get their name out, all while not sacrificing their truly unique sounds. While I am aware that my D.C. bias is overwhelming, I speak objectively when I say that Wale is rap’s next big thing, and that his ability to connect with audiences, as evidenced by his flawless performance last night, will come in handy when his album finally drops.

After standing in the rain for an extended period of time, I finally collected my ticket to see Wale, along with D.C. mainstays Tabi Bonney and UCB. Tabi was his usual self; an energetic warm-up that gets the audience ready for the main event. The moment Wale came out, the hometown crowd greeted him with cheers louder than you would hear at a Nationals game (which isn’t saying much…ok terrible analogy). After giving respect to D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, Wale began to call out specific high schools in the area, giving mention even to my girlfriend’s high school, yet neglecting mine (something she’ll never let me forget). From the first minute it became apparent; this crowd is Wale’s audience. The 9:30 Club was packed wall-to-wall with a diverse crowd rocking Nats hats, Wale Ovechkin jerseys, and fresh printed tees, while Wale strutted out, backed by what seemed like the 40-man outfit UCB. The legendary Uncalled 4 Band is a perfectly example of Wale’s desire to be deeply rooted in D.C. culture.

Go-go music is an energetic, big-band style of music perfected in the late 70s by Chuck Brown, and is D.C. in every way. While Philly-based The Roots are heavily influenced by the percussion and live horns, no band captures the mood of the District more than UCB, so it’s perfectly fitting that the kings of go-go help Wale out on tracks like “Back in the Go-Go” and “Dig Dug”, an homage to early D.C. go-go artists (and coincidentally, the first single Wale ever released).

Wale, UCB, the crowd, and the performance were all electric, and you could sense that Wale was in his element. From “Ice Cream Girl” to “One Thing About a Playa’”, Wale had the crowd wrapped around his finger and singing along to every last verse. The atmosphere was perfect for a unique hip hop performance, one that relies less on tape-recorded beats and commercial lyricism and way more on call-and-response and connecting with the performers. In between songs, Wale was twittering on stage, asking those in the crowd to twit him back about what they wanted to hear next. The crowd responded overwhelmingly, and Wale finished up his set with spirited performances of his two biggest singles, “Chillin’” and “Nike Boots”. By the end of the show, the crowd couldn’t decide if they wanted more or if they were too physically and mentally exhausted to go on.

Wale’s rise to fame is undeniable, and represents a growing trend in the hip hop industry of artists promoting mixtapes heavily through outlets like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and the like to build a strong reputation, earning them cameos on established artists’ albums (see: Wale on The Roots’ “Rising Down”). I’m aware that it is totally cliche to say that you must see an artist live before you truly appreciate them but…..you must see Wale live before you truly appreciate him. The energy, candidness, and exuberance he brings on stage with him is refreshing, and is a sign of good things to come for the young man from my beloved home town.

Check out his latest, “Hot Shyt” which features verses from Peedi Crakk, Young Chris, Black Thought, and the man himself batting cleanup. While you’re at it, re-listen to “Back in the Go-Go”, which Wale dropped on the audience. You could hear the entire crowd shout “Do it for the Capital, Wale Ovechkin.”

MP3: Wale – “Hot Shyt”
MP3: Wale – “Back in the Go-Go (ft. Bun B and Pusha T)”


YouTube: Lykke Li and Bon Iver perform “Dance Dance Dance” in a Park

December 15, 2008

TodaysBigThing is great for many things. First, it allows me to trim out my 2-h0ur YouTube searches and get right to the good stuff. Second, it allows me to enjoy myself occasionally at work. Third, it introduced me to this awesome video of Lykke Li and Bon Iver performing an acoustic version of “Dance Dance Dance” in a park in LA. I’m still not a huge Lykke Li fan, but my love for Bon Iver is well documented, and this intimate video only fuels my fire. Check it out, and check out Justin Vernon and Co.’s masterpiece, “Skinny Love”, below. One of these two will be making an appearance in my top albums list, and one wont. I’ll give you a hint: the better album was made in Wisconsin.

MP3: Bon Iver – “Skinny Love”


Live @ Looney Tunes: Kevin Devine, Jesse Lacey, and Andy Hull

December 3, 2008


I’ve been on a recent Kevin Devine/Brand New/Manchester Orchestra listening binge, so I journeyed through the internets in search of something new to satisfy my craving for anything new by the guys.  What I found wasn’t necessarily new, but still pretty interesting.  In late April of this year, Kevin Devine, Jesse Lacey (Brand New), and Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra) got together and performed at Looney Tunes up in New York for an in-store set.  They played some cool variations of songs usually performed by their respective bands and incorporated their own vocal stylings into each other’s work very nicely.  The harmonies they sing in their adaptation of Manchester Orchestra’s “Where Have You Been”, albeit a tad scratchy given the nature of the recording, are absolutely fantastic.  The guitar line for Brand New’s “Jesus” gives a very different feel for the song, one that’s far more suited for a an acoustic performance.  And pretty much every song by Kevin Devine is stellar since he’s always been a fantastic solo performer.  Together, these guys are fantastic and know just how to work off of each others’ material.  If you’re a fan of any of these bands

Again, the quality of these recordings isn’t perfect, but these songs are definitely worth listening to.  My thanks to whoever recorded these.

MP3: Brand New – Jesus (Live @ Looney Tunes)
MP3: Manchester Orchestra – Where Have You Been (Live @ Looney Tunes)

And because I just can’t get enough of this song…

MP3: Kevin Devine – Me and My Friends


Damien Jurado on WNYC Soundcheck

September 30, 2008

Kind of last minute here, but Damien Jurado will be performing on WNYC’s Soundcheck in about 2 minutes (at 2pm). I’ve been a big fan of the folk/alt.-country Jurado since Derek played me “Ohio” back in 2005. His 2006 effort, And Now that I’m in Your Shadow, was my favorite release and produced many of his best songs, including “What Were the Chances” (available below). Recommended for listeners of Sufjan, Iron & Wine, et al. Check out the performance now and definitely pick up a copy of his newest album, Caught in the Trees.

Listen to Jurado live on WNYC Soundcheck HERE

MP3: Damien Jurado – “What Were the Chances”

Check out Jurado live:
09/30/08 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
10/01/08 Brooklyn, NY – Union Hall
10/02/08 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel
10/03/08 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Chapel @ 10:00
10/03/08 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church @ 7:30
10/04/08 Columbus, OH – Milo Arts