The end of yet another year is here! December is the time for holiday greetings and gay happy meetings, at least according to that overplayed Christmas song. It’s also the time for giving and spending time with friends and family, and what’s better than spending quality family time at a concert? Or giving that extra free ticket to a friend?
To help you get in that giving mood, here’s the December preview of shows coming to the 9:30 Club all month long and an extra chance to win tickets to the show of your choice from the list below.
The Hives, Tues 12/10
Swedish rock and rollers The Hives have been blowing minds with their ground shaking, glam-punk style since 2007. The five-piece successfully continue their legacy of reinventing rock and roll by following a rather simple cycle: “release new Hives record, conquer world by touring, repeat.”
If that cycle is correct, the next step after their 2012 release of Lex Hives would be to tour. And tour, they have. Just yesterday, the Hives announced their upcoming gig with Australia’s Big Day Out event. Before the band rocks the down under, you can catch them at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, December 10.
My Morning Jacket has teamed with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Flaming Lips and other bands for a 4-night concert adventure in Mexico from January 26-30, 2014.
The event, dubbed My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday features three totally unique shows plus an off-the-hook dance party hosted by the band that promises plenty of surprises.
This unique experience will include daily activities, a variety of off-site excursions, and all the magic that comes from being on vacation in an intimate setting with just 2,500 fans.
Foreverly is Green Day honcho Billie Joe Armstrong and contempo pop-jazz vocalist Norah Jones’ tipping of the hat to The Everly Brothers. Instead of cherry-picking a handful of nuggets from that duo’s extensive oeuvre, they decided to focus upon the Brothers’ quite prescient second LP, 1958’s outstanding but highly individual Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. It’s a risky maneuver to be sure, but in the end the plusses outweigh the minuses, and while far from amazing, it stands as more than just a thoughtful gesture.
Recently Colin Meloy, well-known indie rocker cherished as a novelist by lit majors and McSweeney’s-subscribers the globe over, George MacDonald Fraser-advocate, and most importantly, the singer for the Portland Oregon outfit The Decemberists, issued the latest in his string of tour-only single-artist cover-song CDs, with the act under scrutiny on this occasion being none other than The Kinks.
That’s certainly a very nice choice, but when Meloy elaborated upon how he came to his decision, specifically by pulling five records from his shelf at random with the subject of the 5-song EP chosen from that severely limited selection, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment over the vocalist’s stated nixing of Don Everly.
But the letdown was indeed a brief one, for it’s not like Don’s been banished to a corner of neglect to starve for contemporary recognition. Far from it actually, since The Everly Brothers, the duo he comprised with his younger sibling Phil, produced some of the most durable hits of the early rock ‘n’ roll era.
Finally out of our turkey hangovers, we’re catching up on our live-concert coverage after the holiday.—Ed.
When Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller of Sleigh Bells took the stage at the 9:30 Club, they were not alone. Along with the tightly packed, sold-out crowd of DC music-goers they drew in off the unseasonably cold streets that night, this Brooklyn, New York-based powerhouse duo came to the club ready to rock, complete with drummer Chris Maggio and guitar player Ryan Primack.
The addition of having a full live band on the road with them not only brought a fuller and more rich sound to their set, it brought the energy level of the club to extraordinary heights. I had never seen Sleigh Bells play with a full band before, and I have to say, their set was quite amazing and a completely different animal from their recordings.
Krauss has enough stage presence and exuberance on her own on to project her vocals right through anyone standing within a few city blocks of her. Sleigh Bells puts on a great live show even with electronic drums and queued computer tracks. Krauss is certainly enough of a performer to get through to her audience no matter what the stage situation is, but somehow seeing her play with a full live band magnifies all of her efforts and takes her to this quasi-Mick-Jagger/Robert-Plant-like state, at least in my mind.
If the 1983 self-titled debut by Violent Femmes is one of the hot half-dozen expressions of Teen Angst American Style ever waxed, then Hallowed Ground, the group’s still divisive second effort from the following year is one of rock music’s core texts in how to successfully flout expectations. It still succeeds greatly as a document of nervy conceptual growth and as a major breakthrough in terms of individual musicianship.
A lingering wisdom about Violent Femmes’ first album is that it inevitably landed squarely in the lap of any ‘80s teen that had grasped just how inescapably miserable was the struggle of growing up; the isolation, the hopelessness, the short highs followed by extended lows, the sexual overload, the distasteful omnipresence of authority. Instead of just internalizing this knowledge many naturally flaunted their alienation over this unrelentingly oppressive environment via haircuts, clothing choices, and most importantly artistic taste.
The strategic reading of Catcher in the Rye on park benches aside, music has proven a startlingly effective way of expressing that unsubtle concept of Not Fitting In. Indeed, music has long been synonymous with youth in revolt, and if circa 1985 one spied a surly, disheveled teen sauntering along the sidewalks of some suburban landscape with a sticker covered backpack and a Walkman, it was a safe bet that they were carrying a cassette copy of Violent Femmes in the pocket of their tattered thrift-store trench coat.
A true rite of passage, it was also an LP so ubiquitous that I have no recollection of hearing it for the first time; once someone was identified as belonging to the great brigade of young non-conformists it was inevitable that a more experienced member of this community would lend a helping hand and expose the newcomer to the alluring strains of Midwestern anxiety.
Ah, the holiday season. Is there a better time to round up the family and head to a record store? We think not.
In fact, because it’s the absolute right time to support your local mom and pop, brick and mortar record shops, we invited Those Darlins’ Nikki Kvarnes to hit up one of our locals, Som Records for a bit of a record rummage, and wouldn’t you know it, her Mom’s along for the ride for one of the warmer pieces we’ve shot to date. (I mean, that Gwar shoot last year? Not the most fuzzy.)
Those Darlins have a new LP on store shelves, Blur the Line, and you can catch the band on tour through December into the new year. For now though, let’s join Nikki and Mom at Som in DC.
Those Darlins Official | Facebook | Twitter | Tour
“Somewhere in the discussion of vinyl media, there’s a roomy reverence for the physical space that records occupy. I’ve seen overstuffed bookcases in city apartments spilling over into tape-bandaged shipping boxes wedged between sofas and end tables. Or half a suburban garage devoted to a record collection and its associated memorabilia. Numerous or few, these albums are our personal effects, and decisions must be made about the actual space we wish to accord them in our lives.”
“As a boy growing up in a conductor’s household, I found the space granted to these objects to be significant. Whole walls of my father’s study were lined with vinyl records, stacked vertically, crammed densely, and held in place by the opposing cinder blocks of makeshift shelving.
In officious contrast to their pedestrian setting, each disc was distinguished by a serial number on the upper left-hand corner of its jacket, and all were kept (more or less) in numerical order. Information about each recording was kept on a Rolodex, close-at-hand; these were reference materials, kept to aid in the study of musical scores.
In the second half of the 1970s, the hilly West Coast burg of San Francisco was noted for some bands, and a few of them specialized in the creation of punk rock. Amongst the more illustrious names are The Avengers, Crime, The Dead Kennedys, and Flipper, but one of the less championed troops in the city’s early punk narrative was Negative Trend. Their terrific self-titled 1978 7-inch has just been repressed by the folks at Superior Viaduct, and it’s an essential purchase for anyone striving to build a comprehensive punk library.
By this point, the late-‘70s punk uprising has been examined from a multitude of angles, with the majority of the approaches offering at least some measure of substantive insight. Since the whole explosion proved to be such a complex beast, indeed so multifaceted that individual perspectives can frequently seem downright contradictory, the value found in such a large number of diverse viewpoints should really come as no surprise.
One particularly interesting outlook concerns how punk’s North American surge was inevitably doomed to initial failure due to the lack of an appropriate distribution network to service its burgeoning creativity as it was emerging. It’s a tempting idea, but it tends to sidestep the reality of what actually did occur after The Dictators’ Go Girl Crazy! (my pick as the starting point of the unhyphenated punk era) first hit the racks in early ’75.
Specifically, the impulse spread like wildfire, or better yet like a disease. In England, the situation grew into an epidemic that sent shockwaves through the country’s entire culture, but in the USA, the very land that gave the form its messy back-alley birth, the transmission remained either underground or largely disdained but the public at large.