DC Saturday Show Recommendation

Sean Walsh and the National Reserve, “Record Spin”
David Shultz and the Skyline, “Free”
¡Carlos, I’m Pregnant!, “Etta James”

So if you’ve read this blog at all over the last six months or so, you’ve probably seen that I’ve become a big fan of two up-and-coming bands: Sean Walsh and the National Reserve and ¡Carlos, I’m Pregnant!.

Well, guess what? The two bands are playing together, along with Richmond’s David Shultz and The Skyline, tomorrow night at Comet Ping Pong in DC. Quite simply, this is the best pairing of exciting young bands I’ve seen in DC in quite a while, and you’d be well served to get out and catch them tomorrow night.

Oh, and while I admittedly don’t know David Shultz’s music quite as well, I have a feeling that might not be the case for too long. The band is getting ready to release a new album this October, and to open some very big tour dates with none other than Thao and the Get Down Stay Down.

So what say you come out for some pizza, beer and music in Northwest tomorrow night?

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Friday 31 July 2009 at 1:03 pm

[Updated] My Bloody Valentine @ The National [7/30/09]

Not that I’m a particularly great reviewer in the first place, but I find reviewing a My Bloody Valentine concert to be next to impossible. Why? Because I honestly have little to no recollection of anything that happened during the show aside from the fact that I had to spend several minutes remembering just to breathe.

To put it lightly, MBV are loud. So loud, in fact, that staff refused to let people into the venue without first taking a free set of foam earplugs. I even showed them that I’d brought my own personal set of Etymonic ear plugs, yet I still had to take a pair of theirs. Clearly there was a lawyer involved behind the scenes in that decision.

And why are they so loud? Well, it may have something to do with the three full Marshall stacks and two additional half stacks… that Kevin used for himself. And then there were the dozen or so additional loudspeakers on the sides of the stage. And then there was the 6-foot high stack of speakers a few feet from Kevin (and about 10 feet from me) that I couldn’t identify at first, but soon discovered from the whoosh of air to be additional monster sub-woofers.

So by the time the band starts playing, you are essentially being assaulted by noise, vibration and a constant gush of air from the speakers. Add in the earplugs that you’d be an absolute jackass not to be using, and, well, it’s hard to really make out just exactly what’s going on on stage. You’re too busy just trying to figure out if you’re still alive or not. And, maybe it’s just me, but I also start getting dry-eye from all the hot air coming at me.

And then, of course, the band ends the set with an extended “Holocaust” jam during set-closer “You Made Me Realise”, and you suddenly realize (no pun intended) that the noise you’d been hearing for the last hour was NOTHING compared that what’s happening now. Frankly, it’s pummeling. (But in a good way, of course.) I tried on several occasions to see if I could hear myself hum, speak or yell. I couldn’t. And that went on, by my count, for about 14 minutes and 30 seconds.

And just like that, as mysteriously as they arrived, they were gone.

Here’s the setlist, according to a poster on the 9:30 Club boards. I honestly can’t recall if any of it’s right or not.

i only said
when you sleep
you never should
when you wake
come in alone
only shallow
nothing much to lose
to here knows when
feed me with your kiss
you made me realise

Oh, and if want a bit of an idea what a MBV concert sounds like, watch this video. It’s only 7 seconds long, but you’ll get the idea. Just imagine about 1,000 times louder, an hour longer, and maybe have a friend (or enemy) repeatedly punch you in the chest to replicate the feeling of air pushing at you.

Edited to add: The National may now be my favorite mid-Atlantic music venue. It seems like a mixture of The Metro in Chicago (a comfy GA floor that is wider than it is deep) and Town Hall in New York (a beautiful, classic room with upstairs balcony seating). And, to their amazing credit, the staff let in a handicapped fan with a walker about 20 minutes before doors opened to get in and find a comfortable spot. Very cool.

Posted under Babystew Home,Concert Photos by Steve on Friday 31 July 2009 at 12:44 pm

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band Vid, “Albatross Albatross Albatross”

Via Stereogum:

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band on MySpace

Posted under Babystew Home,Videos by Steve on Friday 31 July 2009 at 10:52 am

Roadside Graves @ Red and Black Bar, DC [7/29/09]

Fantastic set from Roadside Graves tonight. You really, really shoulda been there.

For lack of a better comparison, you should think of these guys as essentially being The Hold Steady or Lucero before anyone knew who they were. Neither of those are really good barometers of what Roadside Graves sound like – though the strong Springsteen influence that each band has shown at times does tie them together a bit – but rather the comparison is based on the amount of energy and earnestness that the bands bring to the stage. And it’s also a good comparison for the type of popularity that the Roadside Graves could be looking at in a couple of years if they can keep things going.

If you want to know what they sound like, here’s one of my favorite songs from the band’s new album, My Son’s Home, out now on Autumn Tone Records [BUY]:

Roadside Graves, “Far and Wide”

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Wednesday 29 July 2009 at 11:23 pm

Pitchfork Fest Day 3

So, err, yeah… I completely forgot to do a post about the third (and final) day of Pitchfork Fest last week.

I won’t bore you with discussion this late in the day. And, besides, my crappy memory probably wouldn’t allow me to talk about much of what happened that day.

So instead here’s some video of The Jesus Lizard and The National via Pitchfork TV:

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Tuesday 28 July 2009 at 5:29 pm

Wavves Fall Tour Announced

This isn’t a tour that I would have posted about 2 weeks ago, but I really did enjoy Wavves’ set at Pitchfork Fest last weekend. Maybe it’s just that I had low expectations, but still… they were fun.

But would it be too much to ask for The Soft Pack to open up more shows than just the Austin show?

Wavves Fall Tour
Fri-Aug-28 San Diego, CA Street Scene
Sat-Sep-05 Los Angeles, CA FYF Fest presents: Save Our State Parks @ LA Historic State Park
Sun-Sep-06 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop *
Sun-Sep-13 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge *
Mon-Sep-14 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge *
Tue-Sep-15 Lawrence, KS Jackpot Music Hall *
Wed-Sep-16 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry *
Thu-Sep-17 Grinnell, IA Gardner Lounge, Grinnell College *
Fri-Sep-18 Champaign, IL Pygmalion Music Festival *
Sat-Sep-19 Madison, WI Forward Music Festival *
Sun-Sep-20 Chicago, IL Chopin Theater (Early All Ages) *
Sun-Sep-20 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle (Late 21+) *
Mon-Sep-21 Detroit, MI Majestic Café *
Tue-Sep-22 Toronto, ON El Mocambo *
Wed-Sep-23 Montreal, QC Friendship Cove *
Thu-Sep-24 New York, NY Santos Party House *
Fri-Sep-25 New York, NY Todd P Show venue TBA *
Sun-Sep-27 Boston, MA Great Scott *
Tue-Sep-29 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church *
Wed-Sep-30 Baltimore, MD Ottobar *
Thu-Oct-01 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel *
Fri-Oct-02 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506 *
Sat-Oct-03 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club *
Sun-Oct-04 Atlanta, GA The Earl *
Tue-Oct-06 Oxford, MS Proud Larry’s *
Fri-Oct-09 Dallas, TX Pastime Lounge *
Sat-Oct-10 Austin, TX Emo’s *#
Thu-Oct-15 Phoenix, AZ Rhythm Room *
Fri-Oct-16 San Diego, CA Casbah *
Sat-Oct-17 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex *

* = w/ Ganglians
# = w/ The Soft Pack

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Tuesday 28 July 2009 at 5:09 pm

New Motel Motel Video, “Coffee”

Great band, great tune.

Motel Motel – Coffee (Official Video) – dissentfilms.com from Matthew Murphy on Vimeo.

Posted under Babystew Home,Videos by Steve on Monday 27 July 2009 at 11:46 am

Built To Spill is Built to Tour

Wow, that was an awful title. Sorry.

That said, though, it’s true. The boys are set to embark on a 3-month tour which will take them across the U.S. and back in support of their forthcoming There Is No Enemy LP, including stops in DC at the 9:30 Club, Chicago at the Vic, and 4 nights in New York split between Webster and MHOW. Can’t wait.

Built to Spill Fall Tour Dates

8/20: Edge Field (Troutdale, Oregon)
8/22: Velvet Jones (Santa Barbara, California)
8/23: Sunset Junction- The Bates Stage (Los Angeles, California)
8/24: The Casbah (San Diego, California)
8/25: Galaxy Concert Theatre (Santa Ana, California)
8/26: Belly UP Tavern (Solana Beach, California)
8/28: Polo Field at Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, California)
8/29: SBS Parking Lot- Humbolt State (Arcata, California)
9/18: Hyde Park Street Fair (Boise, Idaho)
9/19: Murray Theater (Murray, Utah)
9/20: Bluebird Theater (Denver, Colorado)
9/21: Fox Theatre (Boulder, Colorado)
9/23: Slowdown (Omaha, Nebraska)
9/24: First Avenue (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
9/25: Barrymore Theatre (Madison, Wisconsin)
9/26: Vic Theatre (Chicago, Illinois)
9/27: Turner Hall Ballroom (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
9/28: Bluebird Nightclub (Bloomington, Indiana)
9/29: The Pageant (St. Louis, Missouri)
10/1: Newport Music Hall (Columbus, Ohio)
10/2: Southgate House (Newport, Kentucky)
10/3: Royal Oak Music Theatre (Royal Oak, Michigan)
10/4: Grog Shop (Cleveland Heights, Ohio)
10/6: Lee’s Palace (Toronto, Ontario)
10/7: Lee’s Palace (Toronto, Ontario)
10/8: State Theater (Ithaca, New York)
10/9: Middle East (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
10/10: Middle East (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
10/11: Middle East (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
10/12: Webster Hall (New York, New York)
10/13: Webster Hall (New York, New York)
10/14: Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, New York)
10/15: Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, New York)
10/16: The Trocadero (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
10/17: 9:30 Club (Washington, Washington DC)
10/18: Cat’s Cradle (Carrboro, North Carolina)
10/20: 40 Watt Club (Athens, Georgia)
10/21: Minglewood Hall (Memphis, Tennessee)
10/22: Granada Theater (Dallas, Texas)
10/23: Warehouse Live (Houston, Texas)
10/24: Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater (Austin, Texas)
10/25: Diamond Ballroom (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
10/27: Sunshine Theater (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
10/28: Dry River (Tuscon, Arizona)
11/15: WOW Hall (Eugene, Oregon)
11/17: The Nightlight (Bellingham, Washington)
11/18: Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver, British Columbia)
11/19: Showbox at the Market (Seattle, Washington)
11/20: Showbox at the Market (Seattle, Washington)
11/21: Big Easy (Spokane, Washington)

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Monday 27 July 2009 at 11:26 am

This Week in DC

Sorry I missed last week’s installment… my bad.

Anyway, here are the more interesting (to me) shows going on in the DC-area this week. My picks are in bold.

Sunday, 7/26
Black Cat (main): Extra Golden, Black and Tan Fantasy Band, DJ Yellow Fever
DC9: So Many Dynamos, Cast Spells, Detox Retox
RnR Hotel: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dan Friel (of Parts & Labor)
Velvet Lounge: Sugarplums, Microwave Background

Monday, 7/27
Fort Reno: North America, Stoney Lonesome, Pree
IOTA: American Music Club (acoustic), The Smart Brothers

Tuesday, 7/28
9:30 Club: The Cab, others
Black Cat (main): Destroyer, Iran
DC9: The Builders and the Butchers, Illinois, Kashgar
IOTA: The Horse’s Ha, The Smart Borthers
RnR Hotel: Black Gold

Wednesday, 7/29
9:30 Club (early): Fleet Foxes [sold out]
9:30 Club (late): Fleet Foxes [sold out]
DC9: Cage, Yak Ballz, Educated Consumers
Red and Black: The Valley Arena, Roadside Graves
RnR Hotel: Torche, Harvey Milk, Nitroseed
Velvet Lounge: Nervous Habits, Something Fierce

Thursday, 7/30
DC9: Poor But Sexy, The XYZ Affair, Prabir and the Substitutes
Fort Reno: Title Tracks, Casper Bangs, Grendel Babies [last Ft. Reno show of the summer!]
IOTA: Cass McCombs, Jennifer O’Connor, Mike Bones
The National (Richmond): My Bloody Valentine
National Harbor: Gov’t Mule
Red and Black: Catfish Haven, Stranger Waves
RnR Hotel: The Answer, The Jones, Force Major
Velvet Lounge The Bees Knees, Hexa, others

Friday, 7/31
9:30 Club: M. Ward, Chain and the Gang
Black Cat (main): Shortstack, Lorelei, The Moderate
Red and Black: The Charm Offensive, Lanterns, Drunken Banshees, Free Electric State
RnR Hotel: The Method, Ramzy, The Frustrations, Justin Trawick
Velvet Lounge: Keelhaul, The Wayward, others

Saturday, 8/1
9:30 Club: Xavier Rudd, Jeremy Fisher
Black Cat (main): Run For Cover! (Fort Reno benefit)
Comet Ping Pong: Sean Walsh & The National Reserve, David Shultz and the Skyline, Carlos I’m Pregnant!
Red and Black: Laurence Woodson, Milk Machine
RnR Hotel: The Veils, Foreign Born, Faces on Film
Velvet Lounge: Sister Ex, Freak Train, Yell County

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Sunday 26 July 2009 at 5:13 pm

New Robert Pollard Song, “Symbols and Heads”

It’s funny, but it seems like every time Bob Pollard releases an advance song from a new album (i.e., every 3 or 4 months), my first reaction upon hearing the song is to gush about how great it is, and how it seems to herald a return to “classic” Pollard/GBV songwriting form. However, once I have a chance to hear the entire album, I tend to retract (or simply ignore) my previous statement, and go back to waiting for the day that the next great Pollard album will come out.

Well, if the two brand new songs streaming on Bob’s website are any indication, we may finally have reached that day.

Two new songs – “Symbols and Heads” and “Jimmy” – from the forthcoming Elephant Jokes album can be heard on Bob’s website, and they’re both fantastic.  “Symbols and Heads” sounds like classic late-period Who-heavy GBV (except with Bob on guitar instead of Doug, apparently), while “Jimmy” sounds almost like it could have been on any of GBV’s albums pre-Bee Thousand.

Check it out:

Robert Pollard, “Symbols and Heads”

Elephant Jokes comes out on August 11th and features 22 songs and 46 minutes of music. You can pre-order the album NOW at Bob’s Factory of Raw Essentials online store.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Sunday 26 July 2009 at 4:49 pm

The Perils of Late Night Television

There are many reasons not to watch late night TV, but perhaps the most important reason is so that you (err, I) can avoid commercials for Razor & Tie Records’ Monster Ballads CD series.

And, no, I’m not saying there’s something wrong with the music. Just the opposite – I have a hard time seeing these commercials (and hearing the 4-second snippets of each song) without immediately being sent back to the Steve of 1989, and feeling a sudden need to hear all of my old favorite hair metal songs all over again.

Sadly, that’s what just happened to me tonight, and I’ve spent the better part of the last hour watching videos online of Saigon Kick, Mr. Big, Bang Tango and Dangerous Toys.

Oh, and this one too. Seventh-grade Steve really dug this song. And, yeah, I even felt the need to Google “Vito Bratta” (FN1) to see when we can expect the next huge rock reunion. Answer = no time soon.

FN1: This actually reminds me of a somewhat humorous story (to me at least). As a teenager, whenever my friend Jared and I would do anything stupid and/or dangerous and/or illegal, we had an agreement that we would give fake names in case we were busted. He would be Vito, and I would be Bratta. We never came up with last names because we were kinda dumb, as if you couldn’t tell that already from two suburban Jewish kids who thought either of them could pass for a Vito. Let alone a Bratta.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Sunday 26 July 2009 at 1:27 am

Live Superchunk Video From Last Week!

For those of us who didn’t end up making it down to the Merge Records 20th Anniversary festivities, I just found a video of Superchunk playing at the South Street Seaport in New York from last Friday. The video includes versions of “Driveway to Driveway”, “The First Part” and, of course, the immortal “Slack Motherfucker”.

I’m still kicking myself for missing both of the band’s recent shows. Seriously… I cannot afford to be missing Superchunk shows at this stage in their career. Just how many more will there be?

Superchunk | NYC @ South Street Seaport Pier 17 | 17 Jul 2009 from UN:ART:IG on Vimeo.

Posted under Babystew Home,Videos by Steve on Friday 24 July 2009 at 9:39 am

Live Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, “Where Was My Brain”

So it looks like Ted Leo had yet another interesting free show in lower Manhattan. The dude seems to bring bad luck with him whenever he plays a free show in New York in the summer – he’s played during a blackout, then during a torrential storm (twice?), and yet again he seems to have brought the rain with him.

Anyway, according to internet reports it seems like they managed to play a short set despite the weather, and the band’s performance of new song “Where Was My Brain” has already made it to YouTube.

Gotta say… this tune is good. Hope there are a lot more like it on the new album.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 23 July 2009 at 11:08 pm

New-ish Generationals Video, “Angry Charlie”

So I’m a bit late to the Generationals game…

I started hearing their name around the time of SXSW, but it took me until a month or so ago to figure out that the band is actually made up of Ted and Grant from the dearly-departed The Eames Era. And then, even after figuring that out, I didn’t actually hear anything from the band until WOXY started playing a couple of their songs pretty heavily in the last week or two.

Anyway, I’m glad that I’m finally getting a chance to hear them, because they’re pretty damn good. You can stream the band’s entire new album, Con Law, here, and be sure to check out their video for “Angry Charlie” below.

You can also hear the song “When They Fight, They Fight” via a fake video over on YouTube. That one might actually be my favorite song from the band so far, although I kinda wish I hadn’t found that YouTube page. According to the comments, a lot of people are finding the band due to a recent write-up in… Teen Vogue. Ugh.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 23 July 2009 at 6:04 pm

Pitchfork Fest Day 2 (Addendum)

I completely forgot to include this in the last post, and figured it deserved a post of its own.

My friend Mark, a lawyer in Chicago, who is a music fan but doesn’t really keep up with all of the “up and coming” bands, was at Pitchfork Fest last weekend.  On Saturday afternoon he happened to wander over to the smaller Stage B in late afternoon, and this Twitter exchange took place between us.

Mark: What is this female screeching noise going on behind me?

Me: Meet Ponytail.

Mark: Nice to meet you (not really).

That pretty much sums up what I could hear of Ponytail’s set. And, believe me, I was all the way on the other side of the park and could hear the “screeching” he was referring to. So glad I skipped that band.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 23 July 2009 at 5:23 pm

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