Bryce Rudow is a freelance political/pop-culture journalist and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow. Go to his website and read interesting things: BryceTaylorRudow.com
Ton’s of music today. Let’s get to it.
Just make sure to follow the Tunes You Should F*cking Know playlist on Spotify…
Onto the music!
- Makeshift Shelters – Something So Personal
Well fuck me.
I had planned to write about Makeshift Shelters this week for a while now. It’s been a good month since I discovered them thanks to WAMU’s Bandwidth, and I have been obsessed with their 3-song Overflowing EP ever since. I mean, I was slow-cooking a really nice Hot Take about them in my head.
But now, as I write this paragraph Monday afternoon, that’s all gone to shit. D.C.’s very own Makeshift Shelters have made their highly-anticipated sophomore LP available to stream via AlternativePress and now my Hot Takes on their EP feel as fresh as leftover pizza.
However, if you could humor me with one small slice from that hypothetical column/pizza, it would be this:
I mean this in the best way possible, but am I the only hearing a little Juliana Theory in that instrumental work? All Things Go’s Adrian Maseda swears “it’s early Paramore bro,” which I thankfully wouldn’t know, but that complex, almost post-punk guitar work that still falls into ‘simple’ pop-punk/emo structures sounds very pleasantly familiar.
Now it’s off to go listen to all their newer songs, making the above copy essentially nothing more than archived footage…
Update #1: I am six songs in and I have realized that if this band were Motion City Soundtrack (what has to be a big influence of theirs), this is their Commit This To Memory: They got the keys to the nice production studio and the fancy producer, and then it was up them to captivate us with real sonic power as opposed to the raw energy that infuses their earlier material. Like MCS, Makeshift Shelters accomplish this more than they don’t during the course of the album, but there are definitely some times when they fall for lazy emo tropes and the pop-esque clarity of the mix puts that stuff right in the spotlight.
Their live show March 16th at Comet Ping-Pong is going to do a lot in determining how I really feel about this band. Join me? I’ll even wear my Motion City Soundtrack shirt from 2003.
Update #2: Just finishing the last song. This band hit all the “right notes” — including what could just as easily been billed as a country ballad somewhere near the end there — to swoop in and be the next big crossover pop-punk band. I’m now really excited to see this band live and figure out if it’s going to be okay to defend them when they get as big as Paramore.
- Reptar – Lurid Glow
The last time I saw Reptar was back in September at U Hall for one of All Things Go’s showcases. The band’s tragically short set contained the obvious hits but most of it was new material, presumably from their upcoming sophomore LP. Smushed up against the side wall near the bar, I was surrounded by 4-5 other All Things Go’ers (all of whom had watched this band grow up since their first show at U Hall almost 4 years ago), and as the show went on I watched all of them come to the same audible realization at some point throughout the concert:
“This sounds a lot like Talking Heads.”
It was obvious to anyone whose ever heard “Life During Wartime.” But it was also obvious that this was very much Reptar’s version of a Talking Heads-influenced album. There were even moments in these songs when it sounded much more like Huey Lewis or Frank Zappa or even Phil Collins (a reference I actually made back when I heard them at Bonnaroo in 2013). And it’s not like people haven’t been making Talking Heads comparisons already. But this time, the way everyone was whispering it to themselves excitedly in the crowd, it felt like it meant something more than just a simple sonic similarity.
It was us, individually, recognizing that Reptar had reached another level as a band. I don’t think we’d ever admit it (seeing as we’re all a good half-decade older than the guys in Reptar), but “This sounds a lot like Talking Heads” might have really meant, “Whoa! These guys sound like adults!”
However, for anyone that wasn’t able to attend that show, Reptar has sporadically released 4 songs over the past few months that will be on the upcoming Lurid Glow. You can hear a few of them above, but if you’re really jonesing for a Reptar fix I highly suggest the Audiotree session they did with these songs back in September.
- U.S. Royalty – “Nothing To Lose”
Rock-and-roll songs have been chopped up and used as hip-hop samples for decades, and we continue to celebrate that storied tradition today with US Royalty’s very recently released “Nothing To Lose.”
A few hours ago they posted the song — which started as jam session between the band and rapper Phil Ade at the now sadly defunct Gold Leaf Studios during a blizzard in 2009 — to Soundcloud with the following description:
“Unsure of where to begin, the band went ahead and recorded a beat and vocal hook, while Ade’ scribbled out 16 lines of verse in the first 20 minutes. The final song includes production finesse by Los Angeles-based producer Alex Goose, a frequent collaborator with U.S. Royalty.”
Apparently the band rediscovered the single while searching through old demos to include in the vinyl release of their 2011 album Mirrors, but unless they want me filling in for Phil Ade I don’t think we’ll be hearing this one live when they play U Street Music Hall on March 14.
There’s always “Monte Carlo” to hope for though.
- Avers – Empty Light
Avers got put on my radar thanks to PR Person You Can Trust Anna Stodart over at Golightly, who sent me the Richmond 6-piece’s single “Evil.” That was enough to hook me into checking out their album, and I can certifiably attest that Empty Light, the band’s debut LP, definitely delivers as a solid collection of dynamic psychedelic-based rock.
Songs like “The Only One” are a great example of how they infuse a bit of vintage lo-fi with more modern attitudes and energy, but personal favorite “Girls With Headaches” balances out that harder rock edge with much-needed grooviness.
You can check out Avers when they hit up Black Cat on March 3rd. And thank you Anna, I promise to only make fun of you a little for sending out press releases with sentences like this in them:
“Their self-proclaimed ‘dark echo rock’ comes with a retro familiarity and an edge that will make you see old things in a totally new light. The band, whose six members each represent a different kind of cool friend you probably had in college, use a myriad of instruments and esoteric effects to create an infectious sound.”
And now, it’s time for a very special edition of…
AURAL PLEASURE WITH FRIENDS: Lindsay Hogan Edition
Editor’s Note: Lindsay takes photos of bands, but she’s also good at writing about them too.
- Dan Deacon – Gliss Riffer
“To anyone making true avant-garde or experimental music, I make pop music; to anyone making pop music, I make nonsense.” – Dan Deacon, renegade sonic wizard of our generation
Dan’s new album Gliss Riffer is another frantic, escapist experience.
If you’re familiar with the complete works of Dan and his usual adrenaline fueled electronic production, then you might appreciate his new found focus on lyricism this time around (unless you’re still hung up on the poetic prowess of Drinking Out of Cups). “When I Was Done Dying” sticks with his style of textured otherworldliness, but it dips into a new level of emotional relevance that pure electronics can’t provide (I could be down for a lot more of this).
But hey, if you’re new to the sounds of Dan Deacon, Gliss Riffer’s opener, “Feel the Lightning,” provides a cheerful introduction into the pop/experimental line that he so frantically walks. Its got the structure and familiar formula of a pop song and blends the nu-disco sound with Dan’s trademark adrenaline rush. And yes, the female vocalist on this track is also Dan Deacon.
Also, of upmost importance and maybe the whole reason I wrote this blurb: You have not experienced a live show until you’ve attended one of Dan Deacon’s. I could write volumes (and I may yet) about the existential release of a Dan Deacon show. Bryce will back me up (Editor’s Note: I do).
Saturday April 11, 10:00pm, 9:30 Club. We’ll laugh together, we’ll cry together, we’ll dance so hard we wont be able to lift our earthly arms on Sunday.