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June 30, 2011

IFC show featuring Baltimoreans, including Dan Deacon, to premiere Friday

"Young, Broke and Beautiful," the IFC travel show that filmed an episode in Baltimore in March, will broadcast that episode Friday.

An IFC spokeswoman said that while host Stuart Schuffman - aka Broke-Ass Stuart - was in town, he went  "to see singer Landis Expandis’ boom box collection, gets a taste of crabs, parties with the locals, listens in on a rhyme fest  with Ms Streamz (sic), visits Mink Stole at the American Visionary Museum, attends a live hypnotherapy performance and moves his body at a live show with Dan Deacon."

In March, Schuffman  taped a semi-secret performance at the Bell Foundry that featured Deacon, Jimmy Joe Roche, Ed Schrader, the Santa Dads, and keyboard-and-trumpet duo The Creepers. They also taped a Double Dagger show.

Continue reading "IFC show featuring Baltimoreans, including Dan Deacon, to premiere Friday" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:04 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

June 29, 2011

African-American Festival performance schedule released; Estelle on Saturday, Charlie Wilson on Sunday

aframpic.JPGThe African American Festival, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, has released its performance schedule, posted below in full.

The most well known performers this year are Charlie Wilson, Estelle ("American Boy"), Chrisette Michelle, Paula Campbell and Noel Gourdine.

Performances will take place on two different stages, Culture and Music. Admission to the festival is free. 

On Saturday, performances start at noon and end at 10 p.m. while on Sunday they start at noon and end at 9 p.m. On the music stage Saturday, Gourdine will perform at 5 p.m.; Estelle and Michelle will be on sometime between then and 10 p.m., the schedule does not specify.

Wilson will perform at 7:45 p.m. Sunday on the music stage, preceded by Campbell.  We'll have an interview with Wilson later this week.

Organizers have also released a map of its layout at M&T Bank Stadium.

One of the largest of its kind on the East Coast, the festival attracts some 300,000 people every year, according to the city. 

Map and schedule are posted below:

Continue reading "African-American Festival performance schedule released; Estelle on Saturday, Charlie Wilson on Sunday" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:54 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music
        

June 24, 2011

Roots Festival headliner Chuck Brown scoffs at retirement

Chuck Brown has been making music now for over 50 years. On Saturday, he'll be one of the headliners at the inaugural Roots Festival. In an interview, Brown said he's not interested in retiring and still has new ideas to try out.

Here's an excerpt from that interview:

"I don't feel like retiring. I don't get any questions as to why I should retire," he said in his blustery baritone. "Music is just something I still want to do. I still enjoy it. The older I get, the more I want to play."

Brown picked up music when he was around 6 or 7, playing piano at his church and singing gospel songs.


"Run Joe," one of the songs in "We Got This," goes back to his youth. "I used to sing it when I was shining shoes," he remembered. "I knew if one day I was a musician, I would sing it."

The rest of the interview is here.  The schedule for Roots Fest is here.

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

June 21, 2011

Rapdragons, Height with Friends, AK Slaughter to perform at fifth Rap Round Robin

This year's Rap Round Robin has a line-up, and it includes Rapdragons, Height with Friends, AK Slaughter and Mickey Free.

The show, now in its fifth year, will take place August 19 at the Floristree.

One of the organizers sent me the full bill, which was finished late last week.

Continue reading "Rapdragons, Height with Friends, AK Slaughter to perform at fifth Rap Round Robin" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

June 20, 2011

Roots Festival schedule released; Talib Kweli to close festival Saturday night

Talib Kweli, Chuck Brown and Anthony David will perform Saturday at Baltimore's first Roots Festival.

The multi-faceted event, which started June 22 and also includes an outdoor festival and workshops at community centers in West Baltimore and MICA, is meant to draw attention to the area in West Baltimore affected by the unsuccessful "Highway to Nowhere" project. 

On Saturday, it's the music portion of the event, which will take place over the 52 acres of green space that sits atop the "Highway to Nowhere," specifically at Franklin and N. Gilmor streets.

The schedule for the main stage, where the headliners will perform, is below. Organizers recently posted it on the festival's website. 

Schedule:

3 p.m. - Chuck Brown

5 p.m. - Anthony David

7 p.m. - Sunni Patterson

7:30 p.m. - Southern Roots Collective

9 p.m. - Talib Kweli

There will also be two other stages. Organizers have a comprehensive schedule of other acts on their website.

Continue reading "Roots Festival schedule released; Talib Kweli to close festival Saturday night" »

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Categories: Local music
        

June 14, 2011

Rye Rye joins Katy Perry tour, including Merriweather stop

Rye Rye will perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion Wednesday at Katy Perry's show.

The rapper will duet with opener Robyn, whose "Be Mine," she features in new single "Never Will be Mine."

After the Merriweather show, Rye Rye, whose new album will be out later this summer, will join the tour full time, she wrote on her Facebook page Monday.

Rye Rye's  "Never Will be Mine" is posted below:

Continue reading "Rye Rye joins Katy Perry tour, including Merriweather stop" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:32 AM | | Comments (0)
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June 13, 2011

New music festival from Rams Head features Sharon Jones, Matt & Kim; plus, Jill Scott concert news

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Trombone Shorty, and Matt & Kim will headline Silopanna, a new music festival this year produced by Rams Head Promotions.

The line-up for the one-day festival, which takes place August 27 at at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Crownsville, was announced today.

It also includes Fitz and the Tantrums, Jimie's Chicken Shack, All Mighty Senators, Grilled Lincolns, Harper Blynn, as well as some regional acts that were not included in today's press release.

Silopanna, if you hadn't caught on, is Annapolis spelled backwards.

Silopanna is joining a crowded festival season, but, in today's press release, 103.1 WRNR DJ Bob Waugh is quoted as saying, “In Silopanna, there finally is a local music festival we can really get behind."

Waugh might want to review all the festivals that have taken place already this year - Scapescape, Starscape, Sweetlife, Deathfest - and those that are coming up - Artscape, African American Fest, HFStival, and Virgin Mobile.

Silopanna is intended to be a family-friendly event; the festival is open to all ages and children under the age of six are admitted for free.

Cost of admission was not included in the press release is $39.50; tickets go on sale June 17.

Continue reading "New music festival from Rams Head features Sharon Jones, Matt & Kim; plus, Jill Scott concert news" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:47 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

June 7, 2011

Rye Rye releases new single featuring Robyn

It's been a while since we've heard from Rye Rye. Last time, we got the totally shocking news that her album was getting delayed yet again.

Today, her latest single, "Never Will be Mine," was released on iTunes.

It features Robyn, another favorite of the blog, doing an acoustic version of her "Be Mine."

Robyn will next perform in the area on June 15, opening for Katy Perry.

Hear it below:

Continue reading "Rye Rye releases new single featuring Robyn" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:23 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

June 3, 2011

Five Acts to Watch at Starscape: Bassnectar, Skrillex, Infected Mushroom, Uncle Jesse, Mux Mool

Lots of cities have electronic music festivals.

Barcelona's had Sonar since 1994. Miami's Ultra, which started as a sideshow to the long-running, industry-heavy Winter Music Conference, is now, after a decade, its own free-standing event. 

New York City only got its own, Electric Zoo, two years ago. 

Maryland has had Starscape now for 13 years.

Celebrated annually at Fort Armistead Park, the festival will host at least 70 of the best up-and-coming and major headliners in electronic and dance this weekend.

The full schedule is here.  Here are five you shouldn’t miss:

Continue reading "Five Acts to Watch at Starscape: Bassnectar, Skrillex, Infected Mushroom, Uncle Jesse, Mux Mool" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:35 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Free music from Unruly Records' Schwarz every day this month

Adam Schwarz, who's DJ'ing tonight at Club Hippo at his monthly Deep in the Game party, is giving away an online-exclusive track every day this month. The first one, "Babes," was posted Wednesday, and the second, "La La La La La," went up yesterday. 

The giveaway is similar to Kanye West's weekly music giveaway, G.O.O.D. Fridays, where he showed off some of the tracks that ended up on "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."

Schwarz said his idea was inspired by other rappers who've given away music away online, including Soulja Boy and Lil B.

"Gorilla Zoe released a full mixtape everyday for a month. That blew my mind," he said. 

Some of the summer tracks, 30 in all, could have ended up on Schwarz' upcoming EP on Baltimore club label Unruly Records, "Deep in the Game."

But they didn't because some are sample-based, and the EP doesn't have any samples except for the drum breaks. 

About 20 of the summer tracks are finished already, and the rest will be made over the course of the month, he said. 

Continue reading "Free music from Unruly Records' Schwarz every day this month" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:43 PM | | Comments (0)
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May 31, 2011

Starscape schedule released; Bassnectar to play main stage, Skrillex at Dub Nation stage

252872_153055951430798_132292423507151_296026_1335206_n.jpgStarscape, which starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Fort Armistead Park, has released its schedule.

Four acts will go on at 2 p.m., though Segway, the first performer on the main stage, won't go on until 2:30 p.m.

The festival, now in its 13th year, won't end until 6 a.m. Sunday.  

The rest of the schedule, sent by promoters Steez Promo, is below. 

Armistead Park will be divided into five stages for the festival: a main stage, 'dub nation beach,'  the fort stage, dance tent, and 'Steez Promo Bass Arena.'

Beyond Skrillex, major headliners from electronic and dance music will perform, among them, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead, Uncle Jesse, Steve Aoki, and Daedelus.

All tickets, including the $169.50 VIP passes, are sold out. They went on sale in January. Last year was the first time the festival sold out, according to organizers. 

This is also the chance to pick your favorite DJ names. I'm particular to Shugadadde, though Tek Subport and Dubsteb Legion of Doom are also great.

Continue reading "Starscape schedule released; Bassnectar to play main stage, Skrillex at Dub Nation stage" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:31 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

May 25, 2011

Dan Deacon, Celebration, Rapdragons, and more perform at inaugural Scapescape festival; schedule released

scapescape.JPGCelebration, Dan Deacon, Arbouretum and 18 other local acts will perform Sunday at Hampden's the G-Spot for the inaugural Scapescape.

The one-day festival will at least fill part of the void left when Whartscape ended last year. 

Dave Underhill, one of the organizers, said the name is an allusion to the Wham City festival, but that Scapescape doesn't intend to replace it. 

The festival aims "to provide a showcase for what Baltimore is doing as an artistic community," he said.

Organizers have scheduled Cool DJ Willie to kick off the G-Spot Stage at noon, followed by Benjie Loveless and the Creepers. Arbouretum will close the stage at 10:45 p.m.

Lushfarm will open the Ruintown stage at 1:30 p.m., followed by rap duo Rapdragons and Weekends. Celebration and Dan Deacon are the last acts scheduled there, with Deacon scheduled to go on at 10:45 p.m.

They'll all go head-to-head against Coroner, Nuclear Assault and Deathbreath, among others, who will be performing at the last day of the Maryland Deathfest.

Tickets for Scapescape are $20 and sold at Atomic Books, True Vine Record Shop, and missiontix.com. 

The festival is not BYOB; beer and wine will be sold with proceeds going to charity. 

The full schedule posted on Scapescape's Facebook, below:

Continue reading "Dan Deacon, Celebration, Rapdragons, and more perform at inaugural Scapescape festival; schedule released" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:29 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

Artscape schedule released; Matisyahu, E major, Fantasia to headline

Matisyahu and Fantasia will headline Artscape this year, it was announced today. 

The music side of the festival starts on Friday July 15 and ends July 17; performances take place throughout the day, with some starting as early as noon on some days.

The festival is divided into three stages named after their sponsors.

Fantasia will close the first night on the Wells Fargo stage. And Matisyahu, out with new live album "Live at Stubbs," will perform there as well as the last performer on Sunday night.

In addition, Baltimore's E Major, The Jon Bailey Band, and Telesma, as well as G Love & Special Sauce and Nikka Costa, will perform.

Artscape's organizers provided the full schedule, below:

Continue reading "Artscape schedule released; Matisyahu, E major, Fantasia to headline" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:48 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Local music, News
        

May 20, 2011

Preakness music: Hotspur on College Park, Vans Warped Tour, and their upcoming album

When the Preakness Infield line-up was announced, it was surprisingly light on the Maryland talent for an event celebrated here for over a century.

There were headliners Bruno Mars and Train - Hawaii and California, respectively. And there were some Mid-Atlantic standbys, Mr. Greengenes and Phil Vassar, but even they were performing on the second stage.

Then, at the last minute, Hotspur, formed in the classrooms of the University of Maryland seven years ago, was added to the bill to kick things off Saturday.

It was not a surprising addition. The young Maryland four-piece has had an auspicious year since the release of second album, “You Should Know Better by Now.”

With its heavy rotation on mtvU, the band has become a college favorite, an audience heavily courted by Preakness organizers.

Despite being a Terp, singer Joe Mach had never been to Preakness before. He just knew it by reputation.
“Musically, Preakness shows have been known for their mayhem,” Mach said. “This year, they're making it classier and elevating the level of performances. Once they asked us to do it, we couldn't turn it down.”

With a crowd expected to reach the hundreds of thousands, Mach said Preakness is likely to be “one of the biggest if not the biggest show of our young careers.”

Continue reading "Preakness music: Hotspur on College Park, Vans Warped Tour, and their upcoming album" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:03 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

May 19, 2011

HFStival announces 2011 line-up headlined by Avett Brothers; stays at Merriweather

HFStival announced its 2011 line-up Wednesday. The Avett Brothers will headline a show that will also feature Flogging Molly, Dr. Dog, Gin Blossoms, Minus the Bear and Clutch.

The festival, which returned after a four-year hiatus last year, will stay at Merriweather Post Pavilion

It will take place September 17. 

The line-up this year is an improvement over last year's, which featured an all-star cast from the 90s, including Billy Idol, Third Eye Blind and Everclear. 

Among the other bands that will perform this year are Diane Birch, Lionize, Pasadena, and the Five One.

Continue reading "HFStival announces 2011 line-up headlined by Avett Brothers; stays at Merriweather" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:37 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

May 16, 2011

Preakness InFieldFEST schedule released; Bruno Mars, Train to play hour plus sets

The Maryland Jockey Club has released the performance schedule for Preakness InfieldFest, the infield entertainment for the Preakness Stakes.

The fest, now in its third year, will include performances by Bruno Mars, Train, Hotspur, Mr. Greengenes, Phil Vassar, and Puddle of Mudd.

In addition to performances, this year's infield entertainment will also feature a bikini contest, a cornhole tournament, virtual jockey games, a professional women's volleyball tournament and the Mug Club, which gets ticket-buyers a bottomless beer mug for $20. 

Tickets for the infield, which start at $40, are already on sale. 

Musical performances are scheduled to start on Saturday as early as 8:20 a.m. and end as late as 5:30 p.m. They will take place at two places, a main stage and a stage sponsored by Jagermeister.

All acts are scheduled to play 60-minute sets or longer. Hotspur is the first act on the main stage, and Mr. Greengenes will kick-off the action on the Jagermeister stage.

A map of Pimlico Race Track will be released later on Monday, spokesman Mike Gathagan said. 

Continue reading "Preakness InFieldFEST schedule released; Bruno Mars, Train to play hour plus sets" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:53 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local music, News
        

April 26, 2011

Animal Collective to present schlocky horror movie at Maryland Film Festival

Members of Animal Collective will present a Shaw Bros. movie that mixes horror and martial arts at the Maryland Film Festival next month. 

The presentation of "The Boxer's Omen's," on the festival's second night, is part of a line-up that is already heavy on music features, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

It's not the first time musicians have presented movies at the film festival. Dan Deacon's monthly Gunky's Basement series started as a presentation at the festival. Jonathan Richman and Branford Marsalis have presented films as well.

While Richman presented the classy "Cyrano de Bergerac," Animal Collective's movie is classic Hong Kong schlock. "Black wizards, Taoist monks, rampaging monsters, spooky apparitions, beastly crocodile skeletons, flying human heads, a sexy female zombie with long talons, and demonic bats lie in store for our hero," the movie's synopsis promises.

Animal Collective's Avey Tare, Deakin, and Geologist will present the movie May 6 at 11 p.m. at the Charles Theater.

The band will perform in Columbia July 9, the first time it will play "Merriweather Post Pavilion" at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

A trailer for "The Boxer's Omen" below:

Continue reading "Animal Collective to present schlocky horror movie at Maryland Film Festival" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:30 PM | | Comments (0)
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April 14, 2011

Wye Oak mature with new album "Civilian;" debut new video

"We kept all options. We just piled it on because we could."

That's Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner describing their last album, "The Knot."

After working independently for years, Wasner and Andy Stack got a chance to make that album with all the time and resources that brand-new label representation allowed them. They had just been signed to Merge Records in 2008.

But the financial freedom actually worked against them, Wasner says, and the album was "overdone" and "less sculpted" than "If Children."

In a story in tomorrow's paper, online already, Wasner talks about how their new album, "Civilian," came together last year. 

She says it finds them at a new level of maturity. 

Its best tracks ("We Were Wealth," "Holy Holy," "Hot as Day") are the opposite of the sometimes indulgent, five-minute songs in "The Knot:" they are pared down where the others were overdone; immediate instead of meandering; poignant, rather than just lush.

Below is "Fish," the album's first video:

Continue reading "Wye Oak mature with new album "Civilian;" debut new video " »

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:53 PM | | Comments (1)
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April 13, 2011

Concert news: Height, Good Charlotte, Odd Future

Height-420.jpgHeight will performing a homecoming show at the Hexagon on April 20.

The rapper's been on a long, 25-city tour for the past three months.

The auspiciously-timed show will be his last for a while, as he's leaving on an European tour shortly after.

He will be joined by Soul Cannon, Minor Second, G-Easy, and likely, Mickey Free and Emily Slaughter, who are regular members of the Height and Friends ensemble.  Height was profiled in February.

Another Maryland band announced a homecoming show of sorts Tuesday.

Waldorf's Good Charlotte will include Baltimore on their upcoming tour, which kicks off in late May in New Jersey.

They perform at Rams Head Live June 20. It hasn't been announced yet when tickets will go on sale.

Also coming soon to Rams Head: Scissor Sisters, who canceled their March show at the 9:30 club in DC, will play the venue June 9. And Matt & Kim, who played Rams Head just last year, will perform there again June 1. Tickets for both are already for sale at the venue's website.

Odd Future, the latest uber-hyped Tumblr group, will play Sonar May 19. No word yet when The Weeknd will start touring. Tickets, at $15, for the Sonar show are already on sale at the venue's website.

Continue reading "Concert news: Height, Good Charlotte, Odd Future" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

April 12, 2011

Maryland Film Festival line-up heavy on music documentaries

freaks.JPGThe Maryland Film Festival announced part of the 2011 line-up today.

Among the most notable selections in this year's showcase is Kelly Reichardt's new movie "Meek's Cutoff," which will have its regional premiere here, and "Uncle Boonmee" by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, which won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Also notable in the 20-movie line-up that was revealed today is the number of music documentaries that will play the festival next month.

Jed Dietz, the festival director, said there should be more among the other 90 or so films and short films that will be announced later this week.

For starters there's "Freaks in Love," by Baltimoreans Skizz Cyzyk and David Koslowski. The documentary chronicles the 25-year career of seminal punk band Alice Donut.

The trailer is below. 

Then there's "Everyday Sunshine: the story of Fishbone," which follows the veteran Los Angeles punk and funk hybrid band Fishbone. The band, 30 years in the business, are still seeking an appreciative audience.

The film, which has been making the rounds on the festival circuit, will also play the Washington DC Independent Film Festival in early May. The trailer is here.

The third documentary, "Ne Change Rien," or "Change Nothing" is an peripatetic black-and-white profile of the French singer Jeanne Balibar. The film, which was made in 2005 by Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa, has only recently made it stateside. In November, it played at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City. A trailer is here.

Continue reading "Maryland Film Festival line-up heavy on music documentaries" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:35 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

April 5, 2011

Oxes release new single "Orange Jeweleryist"

Oxes haven't put out a new album in over five years.

But the Baltimore punks have been working on new material since last summer, when they played a few rare live shows.

Friends Records posted one of their new songs today. Listen to it below.

"Orange Jeweleryist" is the second of two 12' singles that will be released by Africantape in May.

Drummer Chris Freeland has been spending his time since the last album at his Beat Babies studio helping other bands like Lower Dens, Double Dagger, and Height, who often collaborates with his brother Mickey Freeland, record their own material. Most recently, he recorded part of Wye Oak's "Civilian."

Continue reading "Oxes release new single "Orange Jeweleryist"" »

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Orioles fan follows-up "How 'Bout Dem O's" with new tribute song

Chris Myers and Warning Track Power have come up with a follow-up to their popular tribute song to the Orioles, "How 'Bout Dem O's."

The new song, "Oh Oh Orioles," is online, and has already drawn the team's attention. Spokeswoman Monica Barlow says they're have been discussions to play at future games.

(A story on the Orioles' 2011 entrance songs is here)

Myers, a member of the cover band Egg Babies, co-wrote "How 'Bout Them O's" three years ago while he and the other seven guys in Warning Track Power were waiting for the season to start.

"A few years ago there was a resurgence of the old Orioles song, and we decided we wanted to try our hand at writing a new one," he said.

Orioles tribute music is exclusively what the band does. They updated How 'Bout Them O's several times during the season, and then re-wrote it at the start of the 2010.

They sold the song online and it was downloaded some 100 times, Myers said.

Their biggest endorsement came when the team agreed to play the song during games.  Myers said that happened about 70 percent of the time in '09 and '10 seasons.

"Some of us had bigger high points, but it was the most fun we'd had with music," he said. 

This year, they had to retire the old song because several of the players name-checked in it aren't with the team any more. 

Continue reading "Orioles fan follows-up "How 'Bout Dem O's" with new tribute song" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:48 PM | | Comments (0)
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April 4, 2011

Update: Kesha, with Spank Rock, and Rye Rye announce new area shows

Kesha will perform at the Patriot Center in Virginia this summer, promoter Live Nation announced this morning.

Opening for her will be LMFAO and Spank Rock, whose rapping half Naeem Juwan is from Baltimore. He and XXXChange, Alex Epton, are working on an album that will come out later this year. And they've just released a single, "Rush," as their new Italian disco alter ego Mobroder.

Kesha has named her traveling show the "Get $leazy Tour." If that's not enough to stop you from buying tickets, they will go on sale April 8 for the August 21 show.

Tickets, available through Ticketmaster, start at $49.50.

In other concert news, Rye Rye will perform at Metro Gallery this Saturday, it was abruptly confirmed this weekend. Along for the show is producer and DJ Say-Wut. Rye Rye recently talked about her new mixtape with the Sun.

Tickets for the 21 and over show are $5, and are sold at the venue.

Update: Windup Space will host a benefit concert for Japan relief efforts April 17. We Used to be Family, the Great Tap Root, and others will perform. Cover is a suggested $10 donation that will go towards the American Red Cross and the International Medical Corps.

 

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:37 AM | | Comments (3)
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April 1, 2011

Photo Gallery: Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2011 dream line-up

Above, the Black Keys performing. They're one of readers' most requested bands for this year's Virgin Mobile FreeFest. The others are in this photo gallery. Spooky. It's just like that commenter predicted.
Posted by Erik Maza at 2:41 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Last Night's Photo, Local music
        

Chuck Brown, Anthony David to perform at Roots Festival 2011

Chuck Brown, the godfather of go-go and recently Grammy-nominated for his song "Love," will perform at the Roots Festival this summer.

R&B singer Anthony David, a Grammy nominee from 2009, will also perform at the free, two-day outdoor festival, organizers announced today, adding that other performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

The festival, which will also include workshops and community meetings at churches, community centers in West Baltimore and the Maryland Institute College of Art, is meant to draw attention to the area in West Baltimore affected by the unsuccessful "Highway to Nowhere" project, said organizers with the Atlanta-based non-profit Alternate Roots.

In the early 1970s, hundreds of homes were demolished in the neighborhood to make way for the project, a six-lane highway connecting Interstate 70 with I-95 that was never finished despite displacing families from the area.

Roots, which was announced in January, will take place over the 52 acres of green space that sits atop the "Highway to Nowhere," according to organizers.

Continue reading "Chuck Brown, Anthony David to perform at Roots Festival 2011 " »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

James Nasty digs up Baltimore Club classics for Windup Space party

“It's raw, simple, almost primal music that is meant to be the soundtrack to the time of your life.”

That's DJ James Nasty talking about Baltimore club music. He’s a longtime fan. But for an upcoming gig, he’s been researching it and other historic Baltimore sounds more meticulously than he would for his weekly Moustache party at the Ottobar.

The online magazine Gutter asked him and DJ Benny Stixx to come up with a dance party where only Baltimore music is to be played. The two will finally show off their set lists Friday at the Windup Space at a party where they’ll play songs that stretch as far back as the 1940s.

Nasty took on the magazine's challenge because he's a fan of the city and its sound.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of the local music both past and present,” he said.

Continue reading "James Nasty digs up Baltimore Club classics for Windup Space party" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:27 PM | | Comments (0)
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March 31, 2011

Celebration on TV on the Radio, Friends Records and new album "Hello Paradise"

PX00171_9.JPG"I'm 38; I don't want to do that anymore. Unless someone pays me a lot of money and they want to make it super cushy, but that doesn't happen in rock 'n' roll."

That's Celebration's Katrina Ford talking about the long tours she and the band used to do while they were at label 4AD.

They broke with the label three years ago, and have spent that time working on a new album, "Hello Paradise," that they released in January through the low-key, local label Friends Records. 

The quote comes from a profile of the band that appeared in Sunday's Sun magazine. The whole feature is here.

This picture, by Josh Sisk -who'll exhibit some of his work at Windup Space later this month - comes from Celebration's record release show in early March at 2640, where the profile begins.

Also in the story, a video of the band's three core members - Ford, Sean Antanaitis, David Bergander - performing a new song, "Don't Stop Dreaming."

Celebration's next show is April 8, when they'll open for TV on the Radio at Rams Head Live.

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:59 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

How Dan Deacon ended up on Broke-ass Stuart's IFC show "Young, Broke & Beautiful"

A new IFC show, "Young, Broke & Beautiful," filmed a couple of warehouse shows last week in Baltimore for an upcoming episode about the city.

On Monday, host and creator Stuart Schuffman e-mailed a few cursory responses, via IFC, to questions I'd sent last week.

He writes that he was "stoked" to be in Baltimore and that he came to film here because of "all the amazing underground things going in the city."

"Young, Broke & Beautiful" sounds like IFC's take on Vice's travel series. Schuffman "infiltrates the underground of American cities to find the hidden, cheap and carefully guarded secrets that aren't in any guidebooks," according to the network, which has ordered six episodes. 

The other five episodes will cover Boston, Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans, San Diego.

In Baltimore, Schuffman and his producers filmed a Double Dagger show on Wednesday and a show at the Bell Foundry the next day that featured Dan Deacon, Jimmy Joe Roche, Ed Schrader, the Creepers and several members of Wham City.

When I found out about the shoots Wednesday, I e-mailed Schuffman via his website and IFC to see where else he went and why he chose Baltimore as one of the first cities profiled.

After all,  it wasn't clear if he had ventured outside of the city's DIY music scene or if these cities were again being portrayed as glamorously destitute. 

Below is what he wrote back.

Continue reading "How Dan Deacon ended up on Broke-ass Stuart's IFC show "Young, Broke & Beautiful"" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:18 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music, News
        

March 25, 2011

Video: Celebration performs "Don't Stop Dreaming"


Celebration perform a song from their Electric Tarot project. A profile of the band appears in this Sunday's Baltimore Sun magazine.
Posted by Erik Maza at 2:40 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

Dan Deacon, Wham City to appear in new IFC show 'Young, Broke & Beautiful'

Come this summer, Dan Deacon, Ed Schrader, Jimmy Joe Roche, and a bunch of members of Wham City will appear on an episode of the new IFC show "Young, Broke & Beautiful."

It's not some kind of 'Baltimorelandia.' The show is travel docu-series hosted by blogger Stuart Schuffman that "infiltrates the underground of American cities to find the hidden, cheap and carefully guarded secrets that aren't in any guidebooks," according to IFC's blurb.

The network picked it up for a six episode order last week for a late summer premiere. Episodes will revolve around Boston, Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans, San Diego, and Baltimore.

For the Baltimore episode, the show taped a performance Thursday at the Bell Foundry that featured Deacon, Roche, Schrader, as well as the Santa Dads, and keyboard-and-trumpet duo The Creepers. IFC couldn't say where else Schuffman filmed.

Lola Pierson, one of the organizers, said Thursday night's free show last a little over two hours. "It was well attended, but not crazy," she said.

That makes sense, as it was barely advertised, save for a couple of status updates on Facebook and a private Google group.

Continue reading "Dan Deacon, Wham City to appear in new IFC show 'Young, Broke & Beautiful'" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:58 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music, News
        

March 24, 2011

Concert News: Lupe Fiasco, Death Cab for Cutie, Social Distortion

Lupe Fiasco is coming back to Baltimore, for a meet-and-greet anyway.

Fiasco, who's out with a new album, "Lasers," he's more or less disowned as being the work of corporate lackeys,  was scheduled to appear at Sound Garden earlier this month.

But he canceled there and at South by Southwest at the last minute citing illness. 

He's now rescheduled to appear at the store March 29 for a meet-and-greet, autograph and CD signing, and perhaps, to keep dissing the new album. First come, first serve, but a "Lasers" purchase gets you a bracelet ahead of time

In local hip hop, The Black Hole in Dundalk will host what they're calling the second 'Best in Baltimore' showcase this Friday featuring mostly up-and-comers, Michael Wayne, Lano of Bombsquad, Warzone, among others. Tickets, at $10, are sold at the door.

Also tonight, the IFC channel will film a semi-secret show of Baltimore musicians, including Dan Deacon, at the Bell Foundry in Greenmount West. The show will be part of an upcoming show about Baltimore, IFC says. More on that tomorrow.

On Friday, the always excellent Ultra Nate celebrates her birthday at U Street Music Hall in Washington. Cover is $10. 

Also in Washington, the 9:30 club announced Death Cab will perform June 3. It's the band's seventh (!!) studio album. Tickets, at $35, go on sale Saturday.

Continue reading "Concert News: Lupe Fiasco, Death Cab for Cutie, Social Distortion" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 5:12 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

March 23, 2011

Rye Rye talks Miley Cyrus, Ryeot Powrr, and dancing at the Paradox

Rye Rye's debut album has been in the works for years, and every announced release date just keeps getting bumped.

But NEET/Interscope, her record label, says it will finally be in stores in May, and to promote it, the East Baltimore rapper released a free, downloadable mixtape in February.

In it, she covers and mainly improves upon a bunch of cheesy top 40 songs, like Kesha's "We r who we R," "Like a G6" and the "Party in the USA" cover I saw her do in Miami late last year

In a Q&A that ran in Monday's paper, she talked about her love of Miley Cyrus, bold prints, and where she likes to dance in Baltimore when she's not on tour. 

An excerpt:

Q: Where did you dance when you were younger, and do you still go?

A: The Paradox. I still go, here and there, when I'm not on tour. It feels like home. I'm around all the people I grew up with. I go to dance with my friends and to show people that I'm still normal and not stuck up. When I'm there, I'm in my zone. It influences my music as well because I'm staying connected to that Baltimore vibe

The rest of the Q&A is here. NEET says Rye Rye has a few shows scheduled for the near future, including a slot at Coachella.

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:21 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

March 22, 2011

Celebration to open for TV on the Radio

Celebration, the six-piece art-rock Baltimore band, will open a handful of dates for TV on the Radio this April. 

The announcement came via, where else, Tumblr

Celebration just released their third album, "Hello Paradise," last month with a show inside a 110-year-old church in Charles Village.

A profile on the band appears in this Sunday's Sun magazine

The band said at the concert it did not have a tour planned, save for the occasional show, as has been their custom since they broke with former label 4AD three years ago.

That's the case with TV on the Radio, said Brett Yale, of the band's current label Friends Records. 

They will open for TVOTR at just three cities, Philadelphia, Charlottesville,  and, on April 10, at Rams Head Live in Baltimore. Yale says there are currently no plans for more than three dates. The band's only other scheduled show is April 22 at Union Pool in Brooklyn.

The two bands have a history. They were label mates at 4AD, and TV on the Radio's David Sitek produced Celebration's first two albums.  

Continue reading "Celebration to open for TV on the Radio" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 5:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

March 21, 2011

SXSW 2011: Dan Deacon at Cheer Up Charlie's

dan deaconMidnight Sun alum Sam Sessa saw Dan Deacon play SXSW last week:

In the past few years, a bunch of Baltimore musicians have signed record deals, toured internationally and earned gushing reviews from critics.

But none have been more successful than Dan Deacon, who, perhaps more than anyone else, helped put Baltimore's music scene on the map.

So when Deacon belatedly announced one -- and only one -- date at last week's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, it immediately became a must-see. Several hundred eager hipsters and other Deacon fans crammed into an outdoor venue called Cheer Up Charlie's to try and catch a glimpse of the gleefully eccentric musician.

Only the folks in the front few rows actually got to see him. Deacon likes to set up and perform on the ground or floor, so that he's level with the audience. He likes to get down and dirty, so to speak. And that's just what happened Saturday night in Austin.

Continue reading "SXSW 2011: Dan Deacon at Cheer Up Charlie's" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:54 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music, Sessa's Weekend Watch
        

March 19, 2011

SXSW 2011: G. Love, Rachael Ray, Tiny Victories, Baltimore House

g. love!Whew! The past few days have been a whirlwind here in Austin, Texas. Hi, it's Sam Sessa again, bringing you another update from the South by Southwest music festival.

I've been here since Tuesday, seeing and interviewing bands, as well as talking to industry and government folks. My main reason for going (I was sent here by WTMD and The Sun) was to find out why Austin (the "Live Music Capital of the World") has such a great music scene, and what Baltimore could do to help make ours better.

Here's the end result, a piece which runs in Sunday's paper.

After filing the piece, I headed out to catch G. Love (pictured, top), who played at one of celebrity chef Rachael Ray's parties. I shook Rachael's hand (omg!) and talked with G. Love  for a little while after the show. He's got a new, bluesy album he recorded with the Avett Brothers.

Continue reading "SXSW 2011: G. Love, Rachael Ray, Tiny Victories, Baltimore House" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:03 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local music, Sessa's Weekend Watch
        

March 17, 2011

SXSW 2011: J. Roddy Walston, Jukebox the Ghost, Chico Mann

jukeboxtheghost.jpgHello again, it's your old friend Sam Sessa with another dispatch from Austin, Texas.

Man, my legs are aching. I can't remember the last time I walked and stood and walked and stood so much.

Day two of my trip to the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin flew by. I checked in with Baltimore rockers J. Roddy Walston and the Business, who are playing a few showcases down here (check out the whole list of Baltimore bands at SXSW Erik put together).

Rod and the boys had head colds, and said some kind of bug has been going around -- a bunch of the bands are sick. But they still seemed pumped to be in Austin. Here's the interview; listen for "white people" references.

I also checked in with singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten, who is buddies with Baltimore's Wye Oak and Lower Dens. Here's that interview, too.

In late afternoon, I caught the Philly-by-way-of-Washington indie band Jukebox the Ghost (pictured at top), who played a mellower-than-normal set at Empire, an old auto shop. Austin is brimming with bands -- hundreds, if not thousands of them -- and much of downtown is turned over to pedestrians.

Continue reading "SXSW 2011: J. Roddy Walston, Jukebox the Ghost, Chico Mann" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music, Sessa's Weekend Watch
        

March 16, 2011

SXSW 2011: Greetings from Austin, Texas

bat barWell, a big Texas hello, Midnight Sun gang!

I'm Sam Sessa. Some of you may remember me as the guy who used to write stuff for Midnight Sun. These days, I edit stuff and boss people around.

If you haven't guessed already, I'm in Austin, Texas, covering the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival for 89.7 WTMD and The Baltimore Sun. A gracious grant from WTMD members helped make the trip possible.

While not the country's biggest music festival, SXSW is perhaps the most important. About a thousand up-and-coming bands descend on Austin every March to try and make an impression on the roughly 10,000 journalists, music industry folks and fans who come to see them play.

I'm here to write a piece about why Austin is such a great city for live music (they call it the "Live Music Capital of the World"), and how Baltimore can be more like it.

Continue reading "SXSW 2011: Greetings from Austin, Texas" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:07 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Local music, Sessa's Weekend Watch
        

Baltimore at South by Southwest: Wye Oak, Lower Dens, June Star and more

sxsw.JPGFor a solid month now, they've been arriving at a faster clip than spam peddling Viagra. E-mails about South by Southwest.

Will you see this show, Will you attend that panel "Yoko Ono is Set to appear at SXSW," "Mellencamp documentary premieres at SXSW."

The barrage of e-mails has only intensified since last week, when geeks, journalists, angel investors and their friends - some 17,000 of them - started convening in Austin for the interactive portion of the mammoth confab, now un-ironically referred to as "South By."

For the music portion, which began Tuesday, the frenzy made its way to Baltimore, where sitar player and singer Ami Dang desperately tweeted earlier this month: "AMI DANG (@amidang) is going to #SXSW but has no shows. "PLEASE HELP; I WANT TO PLAY!! <3 <3."

While the interactive powwows at SXSW are the biggest draw now, the festival was conceived in 1987 as a place to discover emerging musicians, and it still retains that appeal, hence Dang's tweet. Several other musicians who live here, or started out here, are also headed to Austin, or are already there, to perform.

If you're there, this is a handy guide to Baltimore at SXSW.

If you're not - as I am not (guess why!)  - and depended on Paul Ford's six-word reviews of the festival to keep up on the music side of things, he won't be doing them this year. Blame a panel.

Still, you can preview many of the thousands of bands playing by listening to the MP3s they've submitted to the festival's website. And if they haven't, they can also be previewed at the unofficial torrents site.

Sam Sessa has also been covering things for WTMD, where he hosts "Baltimore Unsigned," and he'll have dispatches for Midnight Sun throughout the week. 

Continue reading "Baltimore at South by Southwest: Wye Oak, Lower Dens, June Star and more" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:59 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

March 15, 2011

Sweetlife Festival line-up announced: Girl Talk, Lupe Fiasco, Crystal Castles join the Strokes at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Girl Talk, Lupe Fiasco, Crystal Castles and Washington DC's US Royalty are a few of the performers that will join the Strokes at the Sweetlife Festival in May, organizers announced today.

The festival takes place May 1 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, and boasts a line-up any festival, let alone one that's two-years-old would be proud of.

The other performers are Cold War Kids, Theophilus London, Walk the Moon, Modern Man, and Ra Ra Riot, who just performed at Rams Head Live. Their interview with Midnight Sun is here.   

The Strokes, who had been announced as the festival's headliners in late February, did not have any plans to play Maryland before Sweetlife. Same goes for Lupe Fiasco, who has just a couple of promotional appearances planned for new album "Lasers."

Girl Talk last played Baltimore in January.

Sweetlife was created last year by Sweetgreen, the salad and yogurt restaurant group. But it was an infinitely more low-key event.

Hot Chip was the main draw, and the one-day event took place at a tent at Dupont Circle.

This year's festival had been previously scheduled for April 30.  A pre-sale of tickets, which cost $55, starts tomorrow at the festival's website. The pre-sale code is "eatlocal."

A general admission sale begins Friday.

Continue reading "Sweetlife Festival line-up announced: Girl Talk, Lupe Fiasco, Crystal Castles join the Strokes at Merriweather Post Pavilion" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:15 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

February 25, 2011

Starscape Festival announces 2011 lineup: Steve Aoki, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead

Starscape Festival, the overnight, electronic and dance music festival that takes place on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in June, announced its 2011 lineup today.

Among the performers are Bassnectar, Steve Aoki, and Zeds Dead.

For the festival, Fort Armistead Park will be divided into four areas: main stage, beach stage, dance tent, and drum and bass tent. 

Starcape starts at 2 p.m. June 4 ends at 6 a.m.  

The festival has been growing since it began 12 years ago. In 2007, some 7,000 people attended. And organizers say 2010 was the first year tickets sold out. 

Early tickets went on sale January 5. They are still available at the festival's website. General admission is $52.50, and VIP admission is $142.50. 

The full lineup is below: 

Continue reading "Starscape Festival announces 2011 lineup: Steve Aoki, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead " »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:29 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Local music
        

February 16, 2011

Concert news: Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Wye Oak, Lower Dens

Take our your ratty agenda books, here's some just-announced shows:

Wye Oak, on tour with new album "Civilian," will play a mini-set at Sound Garden on March 8. 

The band had previously announced a full set at Washington's Black Cat with Lower Dens.

That foursome - who just released a seven-inch, "Batman/Dear Pretty Baby" (hear it here) - also announced a show of their own. They will perform at the Ottobar on March 6. 

Wye Oak tickets are $12, and Lower Dens are $8. Both are on sale now. 

In other concert news, Rihanna announced today that Cee Lo Green would open for her on the Loud tour, including the 1st Mariner show on June 4. Those tickets start at $69.75.

And Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae, fresh off their performance at the Grammys - the one segment I actually saw - announced a joint tour, to be called Hooligans in Wondaland. No dates have been announced yet.

Below: Wye Oak performing at a recent show.  

Continue reading "Concert news: Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Wye Oak, Lower Dens" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:30 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Local music, Music News
        

February 14, 2011

Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, Lady Arcade Fire win at Grammys; Baltimore bands react: meh

At the Grammys Sunday night, Maryland was largely ignored. Songwriter Makeba Riddick, who went in with excellent odds for producing Eminem's "Recovery," lost to Arcade Fire in the night's major upset, album of the year. 

And Lady Antebellum beat her in the record of the year category.

Baltimore's critically-loved indie bands had already been snubbed by the time the nominations were announced last month. And that suits them just fine.

"As far as I can tell, the people who nominate artists for Grammys are not the hippest people, and they probably aren't obsessive indie rock fans," said Todd Hyman, of DC's Carpark Records, which represents Dan Deacon and Lexie Mountain Boys. "I'm guessing that they haven't even heard of most bands from Baltimore."

For Sunday's paper, I wrote about the non-existing relationship local musicians have with the awards.

It's not that locals might be producing music too esoteric for the Recording Academy's populist taste  - this year, half the nominees were indies, according to industry group A2IM.  It's that local bands and their labels aren't pursuing them.   In fact, some of their labels didn't even submit them for consideration.

At a time of flat-lining record sales, they say that the role the Grammys used to play - to goose up sales and raise young bands' profiles - has now been taken up  by a number of other venues. Touring, for instance, is far more lucrative. And they can count on social media for exposure.   

Below, some of them comment on the awards in more length than I had space for in the print story. (Plus video from the show)

Continue reading "Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, Lady Arcade Fire win at Grammys; Baltimore bands react: meh" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:02 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Local music, Music News, News
        

February 8, 2011

Ponytail to release new album; Dustin Wong on their touring plans, "Infinite Love," and salvia

When I interviewed Dustin Wong last week to preview his show at Golden West Cafe tonight, he casually mentioned that Ponytail, despite having taken a hiatus last year, had just completed a new album.

Today, the official announcement came: the album is called "Do Whatever you Want all the Time," and will be released April 12. 

It will be released by label We Are Free, which posted the image at right on its website.  (The band had also made a cryptic announcement about the album on its blog several months ago.)

New album or not, Wong said the band has no plans yet to tour together. He's going on a solo European tour in April, so that would seem to put Ponytail shows, if they were to happen, off until after Spring.

For now, he intends to keep performing and recording solo. 

Continue reading "Ponytail to release new album; Dustin Wong on their touring plans, "Infinite Love," and salvia" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:01 PM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Local music
        

February 1, 2011

Dope Body, Ecstatic Sunshine, Rapdragons to perform free show at Hopkins

WJHU has gotten Dope Body, Ecstatic Sunshine and Rapdragons to perform at the first of its Baltimore Curators concert series.

The series, sponsored by Johns Hopkins' only radio station, is planned to be a monthly event organized and presented by a Baltimore musician or group.

Dope Body, which just released its first non-cassette release, curated this show.

They've gotten experimental band Ecstatic Sunshine and hip-hop duo Rapdragons, Nick Often and Greg Ward, to perform.

The show will take place Saturday at 10 p.m. at the Levering Great Hall, 3400 North Charles Street.

Admission is free with a college ID, $3 otherwise. 

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:49 PM | | Comments (0)
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January 31, 2011

Ottobar selling annual passes to most music shows

On Friday, the Ottobar started selling a limited number of annual passes that grant access to most shows from February through December.

It's a decision prompted to boost attendance amid growing nightlife competition, says owner Craig Boarman.

"I think the economy is still affecting attendance at shows and events. And, there's a lot of competition in Baltimore these days with regards to live music," he said. "We felt it's something great we can offer customers to keep the Ottobar name in the public's eye."

The annual passes are a first for the club, which like others, is trying what it can to goose ticket sales and attendance. Rams Head Live now sells tickets via Facebook.

The passes, though, are particular only to Ottobar. Competing venues like Sonar and Rams Head Live do not sell similar seasonal passes, and have never before; Rams Head occasionally given them away as prizes.

At Ottobar, the passes had only been available at its annual Otto Lotto party.

Continue reading "Ottobar selling annual passes to most music shows" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:04 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

January 25, 2011

Baltimore's next music wave: Lower Dens, Future Islands, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Weekends, Lands & Peoples

PX00062_9.JPGFor Sunday's paper, I profiled several local bands, none more than five years old, that are poised to become Baltimore's next breakouts.

There's Lower Dens - which despite being about a year old, and only possessing some 20 songs in their repertoire - was one of the most sought-after bands at the CMJ Music Festival last year. Their first album, "Twin-Hand Movement" - a set of 11 spare rock tracks - has sold a remarkable 3,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

There's also Future Islands, the North Carolina art-pop trio that relocated to Baltimore in early 2008, and whose new album, "In Evening Air," also sold 3,000 copies last year.

Adam Lempel and Brendan Sullivan, both 24, started Weekends in 2008 by playing small venues like Charm City Art Space and the Copy Cat, where Sullivan lived. But next month, they'll release their first label album, "Strange Cultures," via Friends Records. Other bands featured: rock 'n' rollers J. Roddy Walston and the Business  - which reformed in Baltimore in 2004 - and Lands & Peoples, who makes understated, atmospheric pop.

(Incidentally, Lower Dens and Weekends, along with another young band, Secret Mountains, just announced a show on February 23 at D.C.'s Subterranean A, 1432 R St. NW)

The story focuses on both the young bands that had the most successful year, but also those that have moved here to live and work. They say that it was the city itself that made it possible for them to flourish in 2010.

The full story, along with a photo gallery and selected videos, is here.

Below, a full list of the band's upcoming regional shows:

Continue reading "Baltimore's next music wave: Lower Dens, Future Islands, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Weekends, Lands & Peoples" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:31 PM | | Comments (0)
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January 18, 2011

Update: Arbouretum to perform free show at the Ottobar

Arbouretum%20159.jpgArbouretum will perform a free show upstairs at the Ottobar in February, it was announced Monday.

The February 13 show is the official release of their new album, "The Gathering," which will be in stores two days later.

You might have listened to a preview of it here last month.

Though Dave Heumann's guitar solos are still a hallmark of the new album, as seen in that track, the band's normal instrumentation has also been altered. One of the guitars was replaced with Matthew Pierce’s keyboards and percussion.

The album is said to be inspired, quizzically, by Carl Jung. 

The show will be upstairs at the Ottobar. Doors open at 10 p.m. The great local freak-folk five-piece Secret Mountains will open. 

Admission is free, but on a first come, first served basis, Ottobar manager Craig Boarman says. 

Arbouretum will also perform March 5 at 2640 with Future Islands and Celebration for the latter's new album release party.

The band will then tour the United States in February and March before heading to Europe.

Update: North American tour dates below:

Continue reading "Update: Arbouretum to perform free show at the Ottobar" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
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January 12, 2011

Dan Deacon to score new Francis Ford Coppola movie, delight Val Kilmer

Dan Deacon, Wham City founding member, local goofball, will score an upcoming movie by Francis Ford Coppola, noted filmmaker of "Bram Stoker's Dracula."

And some little-noticed Italian mobster movies. 

Deacon, who was classically trained at SUNY Purchase, will score Coppola's "Twixt Now and Sunrise," a movie starring Val Kilmer and Elle Fanning that will be released later this year, Pitchfork Media reported.

How this meeting of minds happened is not known. I've e-mailed Deacon for a response; Pitchfork credits a press release with the announcement.

Maybe Papa Coppola started listening to "Bromst" on his time off at the vineyard. Though, in all honesty, Deacon sounds more like Val Kilmer's bag, something to rock out to at his ranch.

Interestingly, no Coppola movies are on the schedule for Deacon's Gunky's Basement revival movie series. A suggestion? Screen the deliciously cheese Dracula movie.

Update: Francis Ford Coppola and Dan Deacon explain how they met. 

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:14 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Local music
        

Weekends to play Golden West Cafe, release new album in February

Weekends, the New York by way of Johns Hopkins/MICA duo, will release their debut LP in February on Friends Records.

The record label just posted an item announcing the band will perform at Golden West Cafe February 12.

Also performing will be Raindeer, Winks - which consists of Weekends' Adam Lempel and Ineveryroom's Chase O'Hara - and Holy Ghost Party, which is not to be confused with the pithier Holy Ghost!.

Weekends' "Strange Cultures" LP, which is available as a digital download already, features "Totem," whose video was created by artist Alice Cohen. It can be seen here.  Winks' upcoming cassette, "She's Done," can be previewed here. (via)

Continue reading "Weekends to play Golden West Cafe, release new album in February" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:57 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Rapper Height to start multi-city tour at Golden West Cafe

Height with Friends will go on a 45-day tour next month, starting with a kick-off show at Golden West Cafe.

The Catonsville rapper Dan Keech, also known as Height, has 25 shows already booked, with several more to be confirmed soon, he said.

Keech, who started performing with another young white rapper, Michael Freeland - who performs as Mickey Free - when they were both in elementary school, has racked up a solid track record here in Baltimore.

He performed with the hip hop group Wounds, and has several EPs and albums to his credit.

Last year Wham City Records Friends Records released his "Bed of Seeds," which can be previewed here.

Free released his own album last year too, and performed at Rams Head Live's New Year's Eve party. 

Along with Lord Grunge and Brendan Richmond, the two are also collaborating on a new project, Shark Tank, who have a handful of dates starting later this month as well. A track from their debut album is available on the group's website as a free digital download.

 The show at Golden West is February 25. Tickets, at $5, are on sale now at sonar.thundertix.com.

A full list of Height with Friends and Shark Tank dates is below:

Continue reading "Rapper Height to start multi-city tour at Golden West Cafe" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:10 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local music
        

January 7, 2011

Wham City to hold monthly comedy nights

Coming off a successful East Coast comedy tour, Wham City will begin holding monthly comedy nights this month.

Ben O'Brien, who booked the tour, says the monthly event will be different in that it will consist only of stand-up.

The tour was a hybrid of stand-up, video, absurdist theater and dance.

It featured O'Brien, Ed Schrader, Alan Resnick, Robby Rackleff, April Camlin, Pete O'Connell, Mason Ross, Adam Endres, Connor Kizer, Dina Kelberman, as well as Dan Deacon. 

The first comedy night will feature Resnick, as well as some new players - A Funny Clown, Erin Gleeson, Frank Martone, Kevin Sherry, Keith Lea, and Showbiz!

O'Brien and Mason Ross will host. It's scheduled for January 18 at the Zodiac. Tickets are $5 at the door.

The next show, scheduled for February 22, features only female comics. Amy Harmon, Anna Fitzgerald, Cricket Arrison, Ellie Beziat, Liz Donadio, Lola Pierson, and Caroline Marcantoni, who choreographed the tour's dancing finale, will perform. 

O'Brien said in the future the show might include some of the other elements found in the tour. 

Continue reading "Wham City to hold monthly comedy nights" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:59 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

January 5, 2011

Egg Babies plan first all-covers show since July

The cover band Egg Babies has scheduled its first show since July for later this month.

They will perform along the Bellevederes, the local soul band, at the Ottobar January 29.

The band Meetwood Flack, which includes members of both Egg Babies and the Bellevederes, will also perform a series of covers of Crosby, Nash and Stills songs. 

Nah, just kidding. They'll be doing Fleetwood Mac covers, hopefully, along with a couple of Steve Nicks imitations. 

The members of Egg Babies don't perform regularly; they just get together every few months for a show. 

This will be Meetwood Flack's second show ever. Their last was in July, when they got Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner to sing lead on a bunch of songs. 

Why Fleetwood Mac? Band member Michael Ward says it always gets a big reaction. 

"Those songs are timeless and people of all ages still enjoy them," he said. The show will consist of an encore of the last show, but will include one new interpretation.  

Come see the witchy magic at 9 p.m., January 29. Tickets, at $10, will be sold at missiontix.com soon.

Continue reading "Egg Babies plan first all-covers show since July" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:00 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music
        

January 4, 2011

Dustin Wong, and Real Estate's guitarist to perform at Golden West Cafe in February

Matthew Mondanile will perform at Golden West Cafe in February, alongside local Dustin Wong, it was just announced. 

Mondanile is the guitarist of critically beloved New Jersey band Real Estate. He'll be performing with his side project, the ambient-pop band the Ducktails, who are on tour promoting a new record that will be released later this month.

Wong will open for the band. The guitarist released a new album last year, "Infinite Love," (video below), and performed around town scores of times. Midnight Sun reviewed his show at the G Spot in November.

The show at Golden West, where band Woods will also perform, is February 8. Tickets, at $8, are sold via sonar.thundertix.com. (via)

Continue reading "Dustin Wong, and Real Estate's guitarist to perform at Golden West Cafe in February" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:56 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

January 3, 2011

WKYS: DMV's hottest rappers of 2010 include Wale, Phil Ade

Radio station WKYS released its top ten list of the most successful area rappers of 2010 last week, and  - surprise, surprise - Wale lead the pack.

The rest of the list includes Phil Ade and Kingpen Slim. 

For us, the most important question is: who's missing?

The DC-based, hip-hop radio station came up with its list after polling musicians, producers, record store owners, and bloggers of the metropolitan area.

They were asked to vote on the rappers who "made the most noise inside and outside the D.C. area by way of buzzworthy shows, tours, videos..." and other things that kept them visible throughout the year. 

Wale is at the top of the list, the radio station says, because "before him there wasn’t as much interest from the outside world" on the area.

That seems like something of a stretch, but Wale did have a pretty good year. He went on an East Coast tour that stopped in Baltimore last month, released a new video for "Pretty Girls," and, with Uncalled 4 Band, was the official band of the MTV Video Music Awards, a measure of commercial success if nothing else.

Last month, he had some bad press, but even more Google mentions, when he went on a six-minute rant on 92Q over Bossman, a Baltimore rapper.

The rest of the station's list features only one female rapper - RaTheMC - and mostly D.C.-based artists.

Continue reading "WKYS: DMV's hottest rappers of 2010 include Wale, Phil Ade" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:18 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local music
        

Nightlife Pocket Guide: Jan. 3 - 9: Golden West Cafe, Sidebar, Greene Turtle

You asked for it, and here it is: a guide to the week in nightlife. Call it the Midnight Sun Nightlife Pocket Guide: small enough to print out, and carry in your snuggest back pocket. On Monday, Red Maple's weekly free Electric Marmalade party moves to 9 p.m. Maybe a belly dancer will show up. On Tuesday, Second City does Baltimore. Show by the comedy troupe is on until Feb. 20. At the Greene Turtle in Columbia, 22-ounce Coors Light drafts are $1.99. The bar calls it Beer Pong Tuesdays. On Wednesday, one half of noise duo Abiku DJs a new party, "Bent," at Sidebar. Expect grainy video accompaniment. $3. On Thursday, more free trash at Windup Space's Mondo Baltimore. On Friday, go to 851 Hollins St. for the first Lith Hall "Twist & Shout" dance party of the year. $5. Also: Deep in the Game returns to Hippo. No cover before 11 p.m. On Saturday, the king of moombahton Dave Nada spins at Golden West Cafe for TaxLo DJ Simon Phoenix's birthday party. $5. On Sunday, no Lucky Dragons show like January 2, but emerging R&B singer Ledisi performs at Bourbon Street. $30. If you've got suggestions for next week, e-mail me at erik.maza@baltsun.com.

(Photo)

Continue reading "Nightlife Pocket Guide: Jan. 3 - 9: Golden West Cafe, Sidebar, Greene Turtle" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music, Nightlife Pocket Guide
        

December 30, 2010

New Year's Eve 2010: Eleven last-minute parties, including Bourbon Street, The Paradox, Golden West Cafe

PX00175_9.JPGThe Man knows you’re going to drink yourself into a stupor on New Year’s Eve.

Why wouldn’t you?

December 31 is the year's biggest get out of jail free card. The one day of the year when you can drink yourself numb and you won't have to answer for your actions the next day. And why? Because by the time you regain consciousness, it’ll all be in the past.

By Jan. 1, it’ll be a new you, the 2011 you: more responsible, more in shape, optimistic, armed with resolutions to face a new year that, as always, you’re certain will be better than the last. Last night's debauchery? That was the old you.

And because local government knows all this, it has taken a few steps to make sure you party as safely as possible. Just consider the Maryland Transit Administration partnership with MillerCoors to offer free bus, metro, subway and light rail services from 8 p.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday. 

In addition, the MTA also partnered with Yellow Cab and AAA Mid-Atlantic to comp cab rides under $50 from any city bar to residents’ homes, a service that may not work perfectly, or even very well, but that's just another alternative to the surplus of transportation options available to residents Friday.

Even state legislators want you to have a good time. About 70 years ago, they approved Article 2B of the Annotated Code of Maryland, a law allows only cbars in the city to keep their doors open until 2 a.m. Jan. 2, said Stephan Fogleman, chairman of the city’s Board of Liquor License Commissioners.

And still, all these things have had the desired effect of tempering celebrations, so that residents have fun, but don't go overboard. Fogleman says New Year’s Eve is one of the quietest times of the year in terms of complaints. Maybe this is why Baltimore is 37th among the country's drunkest cities.

With so many bars staying open past 2 a.m., there will be no shortage of options to properly say good riddance to 2010. Here are just 11 of them:

Continue reading "New Year's Eve 2010: Eleven last-minute parties, including Bourbon Street, The Paradox, Golden West Cafe" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:03 PM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Live!, Local music, New Year's Eve 2010
        

East vs. West electronic music throwdown tonight at Metro Gallery

2010-battle-eclectic-web.jpgEast coast and West coast members of the artists collective Cytoplastik will perform at Metro Gallery tonight in their annual electronic music face-off.

The battle, which is really more of an excuse for a dance party, will pit the Baltimore-based trio Megadrives against another trio, Intergon, the Los Angeles-based makers of "intelligent electronica". Also performing will be Florian Mosleh (there as duo English), DJ Infinity, Free Sauce and VJ Chroma, among others.

Organizers have added live video accompaniment to the live music performances. They're calling it an "acoustic performance art experience."

My favorite part of this thing are the directions to attendees: "COLD hooping, spinning, etc. encouraged ON THE DANCE SIDE ONLY, NOT ON THE GALLERY SIDE!D respect the artwork on display PLEASE!"

Yes, respect the artwork. Please.  Anyway, it's the official start of New Year's Eve celebrating.

Continue reading "East vs. West electronic music throwdown tonight at Metro Gallery" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:37 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Get Out, Local music
        

Mickey Free, the artist formerly known as Bow 'n' Arrow, to open for J. Roddy Walston

J. Roddy Walston and the Business aren't the only locals performing at Rams Head Live Friday night.

Michael Freeland, the rapper who's been working in the city for the last decade as Mickey Free and earlier as Bow 'n' Arrow, will open the venue's New Year's Eve party.

The gig follows a November party at Golden West Cafe for his new album, his first as Mickey Free.

Freeland has been performing in Baltimore since he was 18, when he was still a pizza delivery boy. Most often, he collaborated with Dan Keech, another white rapper he met in high school who goes by the name Height.

He gave up delivering pizza five years ago, and in that time has performed by himself and toured with members of Wham City and indie rock bands, like his brother Chris Freeland's Oxes. 

Still haven't heard of him?  Freeland - who's more goofy than 92Q - posted his new album in its entirety on his website

The 13-track album features Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner on "Never Enough," Height on "The Unnies" and Arboretum's guitarist, Dave Heumann.

Freeland's emix of Wye Oak's "That I Do" is also available, and free. The rest of this side story is here.

Video: Below, Height, Freeland, and others performing at the Rap Round Robin.

Continue reading "Mickey Free, the artist formerly known as Bow 'n' Arrow, to open for J. Roddy Walston" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

December 29, 2010

Starscape Festival 2011 tickets to go on sale in January

starscape.JPGTickets for Starscape, the overnight, electronic and dance music festival that takes place on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in June, will go on sale in January, organizers just said.

The festival, which takes place at Fort Armistead Park June 4, will begin at 2 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. 

Organizers won't announce a lineup until February, but Chromeo, Disco Biscuits, and the Bridge performed in 2009; hip-hop pioneer Slick Rick performed the year before.

The festival has been growing since it began 12 years ago. In 2007, some 7,000 people attended. And organizers say 2010 was the first year tickets sold out.

Credit that with the early ticket sales. 

In 2011, the festival will have an all-night main stage, a dance tent, a bass tent, and even a beach stage for dub step acts, organizers said. 

Continue reading "Starscape Festival 2011 tickets to go on sale in January" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:54 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Local music, News
        

J. Roddy Walston on 2010, Leon Russell, and "lifeless rock"

J. Roddy Walston and the Business have been together for six years now.

And still, critics, sounding more like movie producers, routinely refer to them as a mixture of rock standard-bearers: Jerry Lee Lewis meets AC/DC, AC/DC meets Lynyrd Skynyrd, and so on.

If Leon Russell and Elton John hadn't come together to record "The Union" this year, critics might have used them next to refer to the Business' new self-titled album.

After this year though, that might change. The band has had a remarkable 2010.  

While it took them nearly three years to sell 6,000 copies of their first album, the self-released "Hail Mega Boys," they've sold more than 4,000 copies of their new one since its release in February, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

And though they've always toured extensively, the success of the new album got them booked at more than 180 venues, many much larger than the small clubs where they got their start, like Baltimore's Talking Head.

(On Friday, the band will headline Rams Head Live's New Year's Eve party)

The rest of my interview with Walston, where he touches on leaving Baltimore to record their new self-titled album, Leon Russell's early work, and how recording on tape is more authentic than not, is here.

After the jump, the band's "Don't Break the Needle" video:

Continue reading "J. Roddy Walston on 2010, Leon Russell, and "lifeless rock"" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:08 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Live!, Local music, New Year's Eve 2010
        

December 23, 2010

Wale fires back at rapper Bossman in six-minute rant

Did you hear the one where Wale delivered a six-minute rant on a Baltimore radio station? It is a doozy. The rapper was in town for a show at Rams Head Live  - where he also collected food for charity - and called in for an interview on 92Q. But off the air, he blew a gasket over a diss track called "Nail in the Coffin" by Baltimore rapper Bossman. After pulling an "I don't even know who this guy is" move, he rebutted the local rapper's track with an obscenity-laced verbal clock-cleaning that left the hosts speechless. "I'm trying to do this s*** for the people," he said. "All this bull**** dragged out right now is counterproductive. It's some middle-school s***." Oh, snap. Thankfully, a local blogger posted the whole (warning: NSFW) exchange. (via)

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:26 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

2640 Space to host a night with Celebration, Future Islands and Arbouretum

2640 will host a powder keg of a show on March 5.

Not only will Celebration perform, so will Future Islands and Arbouretum

The show will be the official release party of Celebration's new album, "Hello Paradise," which Friends Records will release on vinyl in January.

The space is located at the old church on 2640 St. Paul.  Doors open at 8 p.m.

 Tickets are already on sale at missiontix.com. Red Emma's will also start selling them January 3.

Seven of the tracks on "Hello Paradise" are available as free downloads on the band's website.  Song "Battles" premiered on WICV just last month.

Photo: via Bmore Musically Informed
Posted by Erik Maza at 11:25 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Review: Spank Rock, Death Set, Devlin & Darko -- the 2010 Baltimore Bass Connection Xmas Party

spank rock mc naeem juwanFrom Midnight Sun alum Sam Sessa:

There's a reason they call it the Baltimore Bass Connection.

Wednesday night at U Street Music Hall, the low end was loud enough to flatten the hairs on the back of your neck. (My ears are still ringing.) Indie rappers Spank Rock, deviant punks the Death Set and Baltimore Club DJs Devlin and Darko had the underground club banging for several hours straight.

The Baltimore Bass Connection's Xmas Celebration, which comes to Sonar tonight, has become a yuletide tradition in these parts. Spank Rock's Naeem Juwan (pictured), a Baltimore native and the event's enigmatic ringleader, has turned the Sonar show into one of the year's most anticipated throwdowns. Hundreds of 20-somethings squeezed into the U Street Music Hall for the DC show --  a sneak preview of what's in store for tonight -- organized by Brightest Young Things the BBC.

While the Death Set and Spank Rock both brought the house down, some questionable lineup choices sapped the night's momentum.

Continue reading "Review: Spank Rock, Death Set, Devlin & Darko -- the 2010 Baltimore Bass Connection Xmas Party" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:55 AM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Concert reviews, Local music
        

December 21, 2010

Beach House perform on Conan O'Brien

Beach House, occasional makers of holiday music, went back to their regular bag last night. The duo performed "10 Mile Stereo," incidentally one of my favorite tracks from last year, on Conan O'Brien's show on TBS. Conan noted "Teen Dream" has been landing on a bunch of year-end best-of lists. Meanwhile, on music connoisseur's George Lopez's show? Xzibit. TBS: very funny. Video of Beach House's performance after the jump: (via)

Continue reading "Beach House perform on Conan O'Brien" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

December 17, 2010

New track from Arbouretum's upcoming album

Bmore Musically Informed just posted a new track from Arbouretum's upcoming album. "Destroying to Save" will be the third track from "The Gathering," the album the band will release in February via Thrill Jockey. The album's inspiration? Carl Jung. How dreamy.
Posted by Erik Maza at 1:21 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Rye Rye returns to Baltimore after solo, M.I.A. tours

It's likely that when Rye Rye performed in Miami earlier this month no one in the crowd knew who she was.

It's been a while, after all, since she disappeared to have a kid. 

It's even possible that, with her spandex onesie and lopsided blonde wig, the crowd took her for a hometown girl.

So halfway through the set, she took the time to remind the crowd who she was:  ""I go by the name Rye Rye," she said." R-y-e R-y-e."

The rapper's been touring since the beginning of the year - first with M.I.A. and later on her own - to do more of that: re-introducing herself to audiences who might have forgotten her as she prepares to release her first, long-delayed album "Go! Pop! Bang!" in February.

Yes, I was in South Florida earlier this month at the blotto art fair known as Art Basel and saw the rapper do a high-energy show that likely previewed her show at Bourbon Street Saturday.

For the haters, there must be more local fans of her than just me: the gig is sold out. 

My full preview of the Bourbon Street show, along with details of her set in Miami, is here

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:50 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Local music
        

December 16, 2010

Beach House get into the Christmas music racket

Haven't had enough Christmas music? Maybe you're a glutton for punishment. Well, here's a new one, from Beach House of all people. It's called, "I do not care for the winter sun," and, despite some jingle bells, it sounds exactly as ethereal as you would expect Beach House's interpretation of Christmas to sound like. They're calling it a "winter/holiday" song that's a gift to their fans. The track is posted as a free download on their tumblr. (via)

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:55 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

Going to see Wale next week? Bring canned vegetables, baked goods

Wale and Rams Head Live are partnering on a holiday food drive next week.

When he performs December 22, the rapper wants ticket holders to bring canned vegetables and boxed baked goods with them.

The food will be donated to the Maryland Food Bank the day after. 

According to the press release, Wale's been in the spirit to give back lately. In November, he and Washington Wizards collected canned goods for a Thanksgiving food drive.

Rams Head Live's talent buyer Mark Mangold said the drive is a good combo of music and charity. "This time of the year people are in need, so if we can get together to hear some great music, then we can get together and collect some food for those who could really use it."

In related news, WKYS reported earlier this week Wale could leave his current label Interscope. But, like their list of the top ten black cartoons of all time, take it with a grain of salt.

While their headline suggests he may sign with Rick Ross, their source in the rapper's camp suggests Wale is only looking to collaborate with the producer.

Photo: Wale's official website

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:28 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

December 14, 2010

Video: new from Weekends, "Totem"

Local band Weekends will release their first LP, "Strange Cultures," next year. (It's already available as a digital download at Friends Records). The album was to have been released last summer, but will instead appear in vinyl in January. Only 500 copies are available. For the new song "Totem," Friends Records commissioned artist/singer Alice Cohen to create a stop-motion animation video. Below:

Weekends "Totem" from Friends Records on Vimeo.

(via)
Posted by Erik Maza at 4:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

December 10, 2010

Video: Lower Dens' "Batman"

Lower Dens have been touring non-stop all year. At CMJ Music Marathon they played 11 different shows. And just this week, it was announced the band would join Wye Oak on four tour dates next year.

Yours Truly has a new video of the band performing their new song, "Batman."

Yours Truly Presents: Lower Dens "Batman" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, their album, "Twin-Hand Movement,", has been popping up in several year-end "best of" lists. (via)

Posted by Erik Maza at 1:23 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

December 9, 2010

Rye Rye announces new tour dates

Rye Rye just announced seven new tour dates, including a stop in Baltimore.

The local rapper just finished a tour with M.I.A. in October. And she's been touring on her own non-stop since. 

Last weekend, she played two shows in Miami during Art Basel. 

She's getting ready to release her album, "Go! Pop! Bang!" in February.

She'll play Bourbon Street next Saturday, December 18. 

Rye Rye, of course, was was one of the first artists signed to M.I.A.'s vanity shingle at Interscope, N.E.E.T.Records.

Tour dates after the jump: 

Continue reading "Rye Rye announces new tour dates" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:35 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

Andy Cook's new photography book chronicles past five years of Baltimore nightlife and music

andycook2.JPGAndy Cook has two new photography books out.

Cook is a Towson-born photographer who two years ago began a documentary series that profiled Americans who'd lost work during the recession. But, since before that, he'd also been chronicling local nightlife and music.

The new books, "Sound of Fire" and "In the Air," were released in October; I just got copies this week. The pictures in "Sound of Fire" are from the past five years, and feature Beach House, Dan Deacon, and Celebration, among others.

Both books were self-published through blurb.com. They can be purchased here.

After the jump, a preview:

Continue reading "Andy Cook's new photography book chronicles past five years of Baltimore nightlife and music" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:44 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music
        

December 8, 2010

Update: Listen to new Wye Oak track

Wye Oak have been getting ready to release a new album, "Civilian," next year. Yesterday, they released a free download of the title track. It can be found here. The duo, which last performed at the Ottobar in November and at a Springfield Farm fundraiser in September, will also been tour with the Decemberists. Tour dates after the jump.

Update:  Merge Records just announced Wye Oak's full tour dates; they will be joined on four of them by Baltimore's Lower Dens.

Continue reading "Update: Listen to new Wye Oak track " »

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

December 1, 2010

Merriweather Post Pavilion ranked second-best amphitheater in the country; Virgin Mobile FreeFest helped

PX00073_9.JPGColumbia's Merriweather Post Pavilion has been named the second best amphitheater in the country by Billboard magazine. 

The venue was one of the three finalists in the magazine's touring awards, which tracks the top-selling shows between October 2009 and this year. 

The second place ranking puts it behind Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl in terms of attendance and box office.

Merriweather was no doubt helped by the festivals it hosted this year, including Summer Spirit, where Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu, among others, performed. And by Virgin Mobile FreeFest, where M.I.A. and LCD Soundsystem headlined rival stages.

The venue attracts some 250,000 concert goers a year, according to promoter I.M.P, which runs the venue, along with the 9:30 club in DC.

Fun fact! Merriweather, which was designed by Frank Gehry, opened in 1967 and was intended to be the summer home of the National Symphony Orchestra.  (via Explore Howard)

Photo: Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2010 (Josh Sisk/Baltimore Sun)

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:44 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local music
        

November 26, 2010

Rams Head Live's Black Friday deal

Black Friday is here. Everyone's offering nutty deals for holiday shoppers. Toys R Us opened Thursday at 10 p.m, Arundel Mills Mall opened at midnight, and Target opened its doors at 4 a.m. Of course, the Black Friday event to beat is Apple's.

Well, it's no $1,000 iMac, but for Black Friday, Rams Head Live and Rams Head on Stage have removed service fees on all tickets bought online today. Rams Head Live has only posted its schedule through December 22, but with no service fees, you could save a couple of bucks on upcoming shows like Matisyahu, Sean Kingston and Wale.

Tickets are sold at tickets.ramsheadlive.com/ or, naturally, on Facebook.

Posted by Erik Maza at 10:29 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

November 23, 2010

Free Download: new Celebration track "Battles"

Celebration premiered a new song last night on WICV, MICA's student-run radio station.

"Battles" is the sixth song from upcoming album "Hello Paradise."

Today, it was posted online as a free download, just like the five previous songs from the album.

All six tracks can be streamed and downloaded at Friends Records.

The full album and vinyl will be released later this year.  (via Pasta Primavera)

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:46 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

November 22, 2010

Watch the new Future Islands video

 Future Islands, whose performance at The Ottobar Saturday I previewed last week, have a new video for "The Ink Well," their half of their split 7-inch with Lonnie Walker.

THE INK WELL /// FUTURE ISLANDS from Theo Anthony on Vimeo.

(via Bmore musically informed)

Posted by Erik Maza at 4:45 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

November 18, 2010

Mickey Free to release new album at Golden West Cafe Friday

Mickey Free aka Michael Freeland aka Bow n' Arrow will release his new album at Golden West Cafe Friday.

For 10 bucks, you get the album and admission to the show. 

Free, who has been working steadily in Baltimore for the last six years - most often with rapper Height - produced the album as he did a flurry of other gigs this year.

Sure, there was the performance at Whartscape and Rap Round Robin at Floristree, but, just listen to his atomizing remix of Wye Oak's delicate "That I Do" for proof 2010 has been especially good to the rapper. Al Shipley also notes his Beat Babies studio has been churning out records for locals The Art Department and Sri Aurobindo.

The new album, which has 13 tracks, can be heard online.

"Never Enough," which features Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, and "The Unnies, which features Height, are free downloads. (Arboretum's guitarist, Dave Heumann, is also featured).

Maryland Morning interviewed Free and his producing partner Dave Barresi Tuesday.  

AK Slaughter, Nuclear Power Pants, and Barresi née Secret Weapon Dave will also perform Friday night.  (via bmore musically informed)

Golden West Cafe is at 1105 West 36th Street. Doors open at 10 p.m. Regular admission is $5.

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:37 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

October 25, 2010

Wham City launches comedy tour featuring Ed Schrader, Dina Kelberman and Dan Deacon

Wham City will launch a 10-city comedy tour in Baltimore November 11.

Several of the hyphenated members of the arts collective -- they are comics-video artists-musicians-dancers -- will participate in the tour, which kicks off at the Bells Foundry and will go through Pittsburgh and Chicago before ending in New York November 20.

The participants are: Ed Schrader, Ben O'Brien, Alan Resnick, Robby Rackleff, April Camlin, Pete O'Connell, Mason Ross, Adam Endres, Connor Kizer, Dina Kelberman, as well as Dan Deacon.

The tour will also feature locals The Creepers and the jokey music of Ram Ones.  

"Wham City: a night of comedy" comes after Deacon and video artist Jimmy Joe Roche started a retrospective film series at the Charles last week. With the film series, the comedy tour, and Whartscape, what could be next? the Wham City salad dressing? 

Continue reading "Wham City launches comedy tour featuring Ed Schrader, Dina Kelberman and Dan Deacon" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 5:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

October 22, 2010

Lower Dens, Cotton Jones, Josh Dibb on why they're playing CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival

lowerdensalt.jpgSince Tuesday, New York City has been crawling with struggling musicians — even more so than usual.

By now, there are more of them around than koi at Central Park. They might even outnumber Japanese tourists.

Officially, hundreds of bands have flown in from all over the world to play the annual CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival. Unofficially, they’re coming for the same reason sex columnist Ashley Alexandra Dupre left the ‘burbs: To make a splash.

The music marathon, in session through Sunday, is a showcase for rising bands to introduce themselves to record producers, labels and new audiences. And for the fans, groupies, and observers coming to New York just for CMJ — some 120,000, according to organizers — it’s a chance to see about 1,200 performances in the span of five days.

Jana Hunter who’s playing a whopping 11 shows with her band, Baltimore’s Lower Dens, summed it up as a giant, adult band camp.

“The whole industry descends on [New York] for a few days to geek out about music in a really intense and obnoxious way,” she said. (Above, Lower Dens performed at The Ottobar Tuesday).

The dream is that by going there, your upstart band will get signed to a major label after one blistering performance somewhere on the Lower East Side. But Maryland musicians see the marathon as a means to other ends.

“Whatever our goals are, they don’t end in dollar signs,” Hunter said. 

While some of these bands had to trek thousands of miles to get there — one group named Circle Pit came all the way from Australia — for the Maryland groups it's nothing more than a Bolt Bus ride away.

“New York isn’t too far,” said Michael Nau of the Cumberland band Cotton Jones. “We’re making it into a day trip.”

Besides Lower Dens and Cotton Jones, other performers from this area are rapper Rye Rye, Silver Spring multi-instrumentalist Zo!, 20-year-old hard-rock vets Clutch, and Josh Dibbs.

Continue reading "Lower Dens, Cotton Jones, Josh Dibb on why they're playing CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:10 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

September 24, 2010

Rams Head Live, music connoisseurs, misspell headliner Dan Deacon's name in show flier

dan%20deacon.jpgElectronic musician Dan Deacon is headlining a show at Rams Head Live Sept. 29

Rams Head is a strange venue for Deacon. They're not exactly known for their eclectic taste; already has-been Jason Derulo will be playing there just two days later. 

But it's a gateway to a wider audience for the schlubby heartthrob outside the patchouli-scented crowds at Wham City. 

In any case, The Get Em Mamis are opening for him, and that is too tantalizing a twofer to pass up.

Clearly, this is something his hosts are excited about. So excited, in fact, they misspelled his name on the upcoming show's flier.

Yes, on Sept. 29, a Dan Decon will play Rams Head.

Credit where credit is due though; it could have been a lot worse. Rams Head could have advertised a Dan Deakonz or a Dave Dinkins as their 9/29 headliner.

Posted by Erik Maza at 8:48 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Local music
        

September 20, 2010

After Zappalooza, fans share best Frank Zappa memories

zappa%20bust.jpgOn Sunday, September 19 was officially declared Frank Zappa day in Baltimore. City officials, fans, and family of the misanthropic rocker gathered at Southeast Anchor Branch Library for a day of celebration that included the unveiling of a bust, a Q&A with his widow, and a performance by cover band Zappa Plays Zappa.

In light of the events, we asked readers, some of whom have been fans since their teens, to write in their favorite memories:

"My first Zappa show was Halloween 1977 at the Palladium in New York City. Still one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. "Baby Snakes" was being filmed. I was a fan before then but that blew me away I remained a big fan ever since.  I remember the day he died. I was in North Carolina driving around listening to a talk radio show. The host talked about how when he came in that morning the people in his office were all upset. So this guy who knew nothing about Frank Zappa beyond "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" opened his lines to Zappa fans. By the end of the show the host was dumbstruck about Zappa's career, orchestral work and other accomplishments. He kept repeating "Why didn't anybody know about all this?" wrote Brad Winters

Continue reading "After Zappalooza, fans share best Frank Zappa memories" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:58 AM | | Comments (4)
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September 17, 2010

Share your Frank Zappa memories

 

Sarah K.K. here, pinch-hitting with a Friday-night request. As you know if you've read Erik's coverage from this week, this weekend marks the unveiling of a statue celebrating legendary, Baltimore-born musician Frank Zappa.

Are you going to this weekend's events? Did you ever see him live? What was the first record of his you bought? What did you really think of "Valley Girl?" Tell us - How will you remember the eccentric musical genius?

Sun photo by Monica Lopossay

Posted by Sarah Kickler Kelber at 7:01 PM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Local music
        

September 8, 2010

Get Out: The Bridge at The 8X10 tonight

the%20bridge.JPG

Local jam band The Bridge's show tonight at The 8X10 tonight is the Get Out pick of the day.

For their last three albums, The Bridge hasn't ventured much outside Baltimore. But for their latest they reached out to Steve Berlin, a member of the Grammy-winning band Los Lobos. 

Sam Sessa profiled the band a couple of weeks ago in one of the last stories he reported. Band members talked about the new work then, but tonight at the Federal Hill venue they'll show off what they've been working on. 

Get Out will be a daily post that highlights our choice for the best event of the night. 

Doors at The 8X10 open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. The venue is at 8-10 E. Cross St.

Photo: Alicia Rose, handout photo

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:08 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

Beach House's Victoria Legrand on The xx's Mercury Prize Win

beach%20house.JPGMoody British goths The xx won the vaunted Mercury Prize for their debut album yesterday.

It just so happened we were on the phone with Victoria Legrand of Beach House when the announcement was made, and we asked her for some thoughts. For starters, what's the Mercury Prize anyway? "It's a big deal," Legrand says.

The prize, given annually to British and Irish music only, has gone to standard-bearers like Pulp and Portishead in the past. This year, The xx beat Dizzee Rascal and Paul Weller.

Beach House and The xx have been touring since the beginning of the year, and inevitably they've coincided on a bunch of dates. They played Glastonbury in June, and will be at Austin City Limits in October...

Continue reading "Beach House's Victoria Legrand on The xx's Mercury Prize Win" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 12:57 PM | | Comments (1)
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September 5, 2010

Justin Bieber's DJ is from Bel Air, and other fun facts

dj tay jamesJustin Bieber's show tonight at the Maryland State Fairgrounds will be homecoming for his DJ, Taylor James.

James, 23, has been touring with Bieber ever since the boy wonder broke out last year. He's been chased by mobs of screaming teens, and had a front row seat for Bieber fever.

I profiled James, aka DJ Tay James, in today's paper. He came up interning at Baltimore Club label Unruly Records, and later spun for parties at the megaclub Love in Washington.

Over the phone, James seemed down to earth, despite all the craziness he has to deal with every day ...

Continue reading "Justin Bieber's DJ is from Bel Air, and other fun facts" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:39 AM | | Comments (3)
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September 1, 2010

Septimius The Great's Artscape performance video

Though Nikc posted a link to this video under the original Septimius the Great thread, I thought it deserved its own special little spotlight.

Septimius The Great did indeed perform at this year's Artscape Festival, and what a spectacle it was.

There were three -- not two, not four, but three -- dancers who performed a choreographed routine. Septimius himself was front and center, in a body length white cape, singing (lip-synching, perhaps?) one of his singles. Check it out ...

Continue reading "Septimius The Great's Artscape performance video" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:44 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

August 30, 2010

Sound Opinions features Baltimore bands, some dude named Sam Sessa

j. roddy walston and the  businessHave you ever listened to Sound Opinions? It's a colorful, informative radio show done by music critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis.

On the latest edition of Sound Opinions, Greg and Jim took a virtual tour through the music scenes of Baltimore, Memphis and Portland.

In the Baltimore segment, they speak to some schmuck named Sam Sessa, who writes about music for some rag or another. I think he might work at a radio station too ...

Continue reading "Sound Opinions features Baltimore bands, some dude named Sam Sessa" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:01 PM | | Comments (3)
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August 20, 2010

At last! Septimius The Great has arrived!

Septimius The GreatSILENCE!

All hail the glorious arrival of Baltimore emperor/hip-hop champion/fashion icon, the legendary Septimius The Great! (Make sure you wear headphones when you click on that link.)

In case you weren't aware, he is almost 2,000 years old. He sits on a throne of naked people. He raps in slow motion. He cannot be defeated.

Behold, his glorious introductory rap:

He is known for being successful
and defeating them all
During the year of the five emperors,
he was the last one standing tall.

Septimius!

He has reigned superior,
and his legacy is here to stay.
He’s almost 2000 years old
and has reinvented himself today ...

Continue reading "At last! Septimius The Great has arrived!" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:30 AM | | Comments (13)
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August 19, 2010

Patchen's first warehouse party

Midnight Sunner (and former roommate) Patchen is breaking the law, breaking the law with his first illegal warehouse party. Here is his account of his recent exploits:

The text came at an absurdly early 8:31 A.M.

"Any interest in attending an illegal warehouse party in bmore tonight?"

The answer was, of course, totally.

I've mostly missed out on Baltimore's illegal/underground scene — no early-era Wham City shows, no freestyle battles, no dance parties that didn’t have the TaxLo seal of approval. I felt overdue for some illegit awesome ...

Continue reading "Patchen's first warehouse party" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (26)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

August 17, 2010

Rock crowds drink the most at Merriweather

richard branson serves beer at last year's Virgin Mobile FreeFest

Last November, when I saw Bruce Springsteen at 1st Mariner Arena, the number of drunk folks stunned me.

Some people were so sloshed they could barely walk, before the show even began. I was strolling up the street next to two dudes who were trying -- and failing -- to have a conversation with each other. It was more like a stream of drunken ramblings.

During the show, I saw one dude tumble head-first down the aisle next to me, and another sloshed sucker kept yelling for "Streets of Philadelphia" while Springsteen did a solo piano version of "For You." I wanted to open-palm slap him.

So it should come as no surprise that rock fans tend to drink more than most other audiences, according to Michael Palad, operations manager for Charm City Hospitality, which handles Merriweather Post Pavilion's drink and food sales ...

Continue reading "Rock crowds drink the most at Merriweather" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:58 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

August 13, 2010

Facing lawsuit, Ottobar holds benefit

The Ottobar is holding a benefit show tomorrow to raise money for a lawsuit filed by an injured patron, according to club co-owner Michael Bowen.

The patron, who was struck in the head about two years ago when a club-goer dove off the stage into the crowd, has since recovered from her injuries but is seeking $30,000 to pay for medical bills and time missed from work, Bowen said. At Bowen's request, the plaintiff's name is being withheld from this article.

"I would like to see this young lady get compensated," Bowen said. "I don't have any beef with this woman pursuing the time she missed from work and some of her medial bills. I'm happy she's healthy and fine."...

Continue reading "Facing lawsuit, Ottobar holds benefit" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:31 PM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music, News
        

August 6, 2010

B.o.B.'s "Airplanes" was written by a kid from Rockville

If you've turned on the radio for as much as a minute this summer, you've probably heard B.o.B.'s hit "Airplanes." It's everywhere. Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams sang the chorus, and Eminem even threw down a verse.

Tim Sommers, a guy who grew up in Rockville, wrote the song with his friend when they were freshmen at Cornell a few years ago. True story. I did a piece about it in today's paper. Check it out.

Something that didn't make it into the story: I asked Sommers if he ever brags about writing the song, or even just tells people about it. I chuckled at his response ...

Continue reading "B.o.B.'s "Airplanes" was written by a kid from Rockville" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

August 5, 2010

Dizzee Rascal's 'Road Rage,' goes platinum with Baltimore Club beat

aaron lacrate and samir with the fruits of their labor

Baltimore Club's influence keeps growing, thanks in part to producers Aaron LaCrate and Debonair Samir (pictured).

LaCrate and Samir produced "Road Rage," a hip-hop track with a Baltimore Club beat, for British rapper Dizzee Rascal. 

The album, "Tongue n' Cheek," (NSFW) was recently certified platinum in England. LaCrate and Samir received platinum plaques for their work.

"It's really exciting," said LaCrate, a Baltimore native who runs the label Milkcrate NYC. "Baltimore's creeping up there."

(Photo courtesy of LaCrate)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:42 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music, News
        

August 2, 2010

Deadmau5 collapses at 9:30 Club show

Canadian DJ/producer Deadmau5 collapsed on stage Friday during a set at the 9:30 Club, "suffering exhaustion and vomiting," according to his website. His following nine shows have been canceled to allow for his recovery.

Deadmau5 (pronounced "Dead Mouse") was about 50 minutes into his set when he collapsed, according to Audrey Schaefer, the venue's publicist. It was the third night of a sold-out three-show run at the club.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:14 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Local music, News
        

July 27, 2010

Wale, Artscape and the curse words

wale performs at the 2009 virgin mobile freefestI'm late to the dance on this issue, but that's only because I can't believe it's gone on like this. 

During Washington rapper Wale's performance at Artscape, the rapper -- and possibly members of his entourage -- dropped some curse words, according to the local news site Investigative Voice.

The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, who had told Wale this was a family-oriented show before his set, was shocked and appalled, and pursued legal action.

Unfortunately, since they paid him in advance, there was nothing they could do, according to this piece by Sun reporter Julie Scharper.

Now that it's all said and done, I'd like to add my 50 cents to the mini-scandal ...

Continue reading "Wale, Artscape and the curse words" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:26 AM | | Comments (6)
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July 26, 2010

Whartscape recap, J. Roddy Walston & the Business profile

ed schraderHappy Monday morning, gang. How was your weekend?

I had a nice and relaxing one, for a chance. I'm actually feeling good on a Monday morning, which is a first for me, in a while at least.

What did you miss this weekend? Well, Whartscape had to deal with the monsoon that swept in yesterday afternoon/evening. Julie Scharper was there for it, and wrote this Whartscape recap for the paper.

Also, ace photographer Josh Sisk shot three days of the experimental music festival. Here's a link to his Whartscape photos. ...

Continue reading "Whartscape recap, J. Roddy Walston & the Business profile" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (1)
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July 22, 2010

Announcing the J. Roddy Walston & the Business ticket winners

j. roddy walston and the  businessThe verdict is in, folks, and we have some winners for our J. Roddy Walston & the Business ticket giveaway.

I'd like to note that Caroline, the band's lovely publicist, picked our winners. She's a neutral third party, who didn't know any of the commenters personally or professionally. At least, I don't think she did. 

Anyway, each of these lucky five folks will win a pair of tickets to the band's CD release show July 31 at The Ottobar ...

Continue reading "Announcing the J. Roddy Walston & the Business ticket winners" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:19 AM | | Comments (2)
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July 19, 2010

2010 Whartscape will be the last

dan deaconThis weekend's Whartscape will be the last, according to co-organizer Dan Deacon (pictured).

Now in its fifth year, the annual celebration of under-the-radar arts, music and culture has reached critical mass, Deacon said.

This year, the festival will feature about 120 performances on multiple stages, over the course of four days. Deacon expects about 1,000 people per day this year.

"I don't think it can get any larger," Deacon said. "We do it for the love of arranging the festival, and I still love doing it, but I don’t want it to become an institution -- something that just happens. I’d like to try something new next year and branch out." ...

Continue reading "2010 Whartscape will be the last" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:43 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Local music, News
        

July 15, 2010

What do promoters do, anyway?

heidi klotzmanThe recent passing of renown local event promoter Mark Baltimore got me thinking about the often unseen role promoters play in the nightlife world.

"Promoter" is a fancy word for party planner. Promoters put together special events -- like THE (midnight sun) SITUATION -- and hopefully a lot of people show up to them.

Bars and clubs hire promoters to bring in business. They'll pay a promoter a certain amount of money, either up front or from the night's take, and in turn, the promoter will guarantee a certain amount of foot traffic. 

For example, Heidi Klotzman of HeidnSeek Entertainment (pictured), books nights at Red Maple. She hires DJs, sends out event invites and makes sure the parties are a success.

When I hung out with Heidi a few weeks ago on a Saturday night, she was holding court at her table in the back patio like a mafia don, and people were constantly coming over to pay their respect. Ah, the power of promoters ...

Continue reading "What do promoters do, anyway?" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:01 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

July 9, 2010

Adam Duritz's Baltimore roots

counting crows lead singer adam duritzCounting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz may be a Baltimore native, but he doesn't have strong roots to the city. He's more like David Hasselhoff than John Waters.

Duritz was born here but moved when he was 3. As a kid, he would come back in the summertime to visit his grandmother, Selma Feldman.

Since Duritz and the rest of the Counting Crows are playing Pier Six Pavilion Monday (get tickets here), I interviewed him about what he remembers of Baltimore. 

The piece ran in today's Live section (check it out) ...

Continue reading "Adam Duritz's Baltimore roots" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:39 PM | | Comments (5)
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June 30, 2010

Pier Six Pavilion and the concert freeloaders

pier six pavilion. from here, you can't quite see the freeloaders,  but they're there. they're there.Every summer, when Pier Six Pavilion opens for the season, another annual tradition resurfaces: live music freeloading.

Folks come from all around with camping chairs, blankets and even portable grills and set up shop on pier five and the western side of President Street to soak in the live music from the downtown amphitheater without having to buy a ticket.

Some people go as far as to drift out into the harbor on floating rafts (gack!) or anchor their boats near the pavilion's waterside edge ...

Continue reading "Pier Six Pavilion and the concert freeloaders" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:43 PM | | Comments (17)
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June 29, 2010

Insubordination Fest pits promoter, fans against Sonar

poland spring waterInsubordination Fest was at Sonar this weekend, and oh my did it stir up some drama. 

The promoter and several patrons of the two-day festival, which featured about 50 bands, are claiming the club denied them free cups of water on Saturday, and would only sell bottles instead -- a charge the owner denies. Bottles of water also varied in price Saturday.

Some of the festival-goers say the bartenders gave them a bottle and told them to refill it in the bathroom. And re-entry was not allowed on Saturday, even though the festival lasted more than 12 hours, according to co-founder Mark Enoch.

"It was hellish," Enoch said.

"I don't think I'll ever get some of the customers back because of the venue, and I don't blame them." ...

Continue reading "Insubordination Fest pits promoter, fans against Sonar" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:12 PM | | Comments (156)
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June 16, 2010

Davey G likes the lotion

davey gIn last week's Live section, I had a short piece about Davey G and the Keyboard, a one-man band who plays cheesy, funny songs using pre-programmed keyboard ditties.

He's in the same vein as the late Wesley Willis, but without all the mental/physical health problems.

At most of his shows, Davey G has a segment where he plays a song about rubbing lotion on himself. In the middle of it, he takes of his shirt, whips out a bottle of lotion, hops down into the audience and dumps it on himself. 

After working up a good lather, Davey G jumps back up on stage to finish the song. Occasionally, he'll follow it up with a tune about taking off his pants, too.

You can only imagine where it goes from there. (Hint: He takes off his pants.) ...

Continue reading "Davey G likes the lotion" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:33 AM | | Comments (5)
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June 9, 2010

Artscape 2010 lineup announced. What do you think?

warren haynes is the front man of gov't mule. here, he kinda looks like a zombie. or maybe he's about to consume the microphone.After blogging for three years, I've come up with a saying: Online, there is no 'best' -- there is only 'first.'

That said, I might not have the best announcement of this year's Artscape festival roster, but I have the first one.

The folks at the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts gave me a sneak peak at the lineup, which will be formally announced at a press conference today.

In case you missed my short piece in today's paper, the headliners are:

Jam rock band Gov't Mule, neo soul singer Musiq Soulchild, Washington-based rapper Wale and indie rock group Cold War Kids are the big names this year ...

Continue reading "Artscape 2010 lineup announced. What do you think?" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:21 AM | | Comments (39)
Categories: Local music, News
        

May 30, 2010

I'm loving Beard's new music video for "Florida"

jason dove, beardless.Jason Dove (pictured) may have a new band called Beard, but his devilish sense of humor is the same as it ever was.

Owen Long sent me the new music video for his song "Florida," and I can't stop watching it. My cube-mates are probably wondering why I've been laughing so much today.

The song is a hot and heavy garage rocker, straight out of the '70s. But the video is where it's at.

"I read your Midnight Sun blog, and wanted to share this with you, because it features two things that you like, Baltimore bar folk, and music," Long wrote in an e-mail. "Maybe you like cougars too, I don't know."

Check this out ...

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:00 AM | | Comments (3)
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May 29, 2010

We're in the middle of Death Fest

Many people have left Baltimore City for sunny, sandy beaches this weekend. But many other people have driven to Baltimore City for the annual Maryland Death Fest at Sonar. 

Organizers are expecting 3,000 people per day. Black T-shirts will be everywhere. Check out this piece I did on the fest. Rawk!

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

May 27, 2010

Whartscape lineup announced

The lineup for the 5th annual Whartscape is out, featuring more than 120 music, theater and video performances over the course of four days.

The all-volunteer fest will take place at various venues around town, July 22-25. Tickets will go on sale June 15 at whamcity.com and the True Vine. Here is the semi-final list of performers (more will be added soon). UPDATE: Beach House and Mink Stole are not confirmed. ...

Continue reading "Whartscape lineup announced" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:19 PM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Local music
        

"Jerkface Shipley" and other songs by We Used to be Family

Last night, while surfing around on Aural States, I discovered a song called "Jerkface Shipley" by the Baltimore band We Used to Be Family.

I couldn't help but snicker, because Al Shipley happens to be one of the city's more prominent music writers and bloggers. He writes for City Paper and his excellent hip-hop blog, Government Names. Coincidence? I doubt it. Funny? Undoubtedly ...

Continue reading ""Jerkface Shipley" and other songs by We Used to be Family" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:05 PM | | Comments (4)
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May 17, 2010

More on the proposed West Side Arts District

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about why declaring Baltimore's West Side an arts district isn't the solution. It sparked a flurry of comments from people who agreed and disagreed with me.

While I lounged on a dais eating grapes and drinking wine, arts writer Mary McCauley did some actual reporting on the topic. McCauley talked to officials from Baltimore's two arts districts, as well as an expert or two.

Here is a link to her piece, which ran in yesterday's paper.

McCauley spoke with Chris Ryer, coordinator of the Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District, who thinks the city hung his district out to dry.

Ryer doesn't get any funding, and little has come of the city's decision to make the neighborhood an arts district ...

Continue reading "More on the proposed West Side Arts District" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:14 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

Baltimore's Makeba Riddick, songwriter for Beyonce, Rihanna

makeba riddickYou probably won't recognize the name Makeba Riddick, but I'm sure you've heard some of her songs: Rihanna's "Rude Boy," Beyonce's "Deja Vu," and T.I.'s "Live Your Life" are a few of the songs she's helped write.

Riddick, a 31-year-old Baltimore native, graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts, got a degree in music management from Berklee College of Music and set off for New York City.

There, she linked up with Bad Boy Records, and co-wrote Jennifer Lopez's No. 1 single "All I Have." She has also penned songs for Jessica Simpson, Toni Braxton, Kelis, Mariah Carey and a host of other stars.

Here is a link to the piece. ...

Continue reading "Baltimore's Makeba Riddick, songwriter for Beyonce, Rihanna" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:25 AM | | Comments (6)
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May 12, 2010

J Roddy Walston's debut due out July 27

j-roddy walston and the business knows how to rawk.Baltimore rock madmen J Roddy Walston and the Business are all set to release a self-titled debut album July 27 on Fairfax Recordings/Vagrant, the label announced yesterday.

Technically, it's the band's second album ("Hail Mega Boys" came out a few years ago), but their first label release.

The album was recorded at a breakneck pace -- all 10 songs were cut in less than two weeks, using vintage studio equipment and few overdubs ...

Continue reading "J Roddy Walston's debut due out July 27" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:36 PM | | Comments (8)
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May 6, 2010

WTMD's 1st Thursday Concert in the Park is tonight

goldspotWhat a day for an outdoor show -- a free outdoor show, at that.

Dust off those folding chairs and blankets, and bring them to Mount Vernon Park tonight for WTMD's First Thursday Concert in the Park.

It's the first First Thursday of the season, featuring live performances by indie pop group Goldspot (pictured) and Baltimore's reggae hot shots Can't Hang.

According to Can't Hang's website, the band has sold more than 100,000 digital downloads -- a serious accomplishment for an unsigned band. Congrats, guys! ...

Continue reading "WTMD's 1st Thursday Concert in the Park is tonight" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:49 AM | | Comments (2)
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April 29, 2010

Introducing Dixie Cup and Merriweather TV

Yesterday, Merriweather Post Pavilion launched Merriweather TV, a viral marketing campaign featuring nutty videos hosted by a dude named Dixie Cup.

So far, Merriweather TV has two Dixie Cup videos -- one about the "real story" behind the giant metal chicken and another urging people to buy tickets to Merriweather to support rich and famous musicians. The first one is hilarious. Check it out ...

Continue reading "Introducing Dixie Cup and Merriweather TV" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:48 AM | | Comments (10)
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April 28, 2010

Old Talking Head/Ottobar building up for auction

this building used to be the talking head, and before it, the  ottobar, and before it, chambers.The Davis Street building (pictured) which used to house the Talking Head Club, The Ottobar and Chambers is headed for auction May 19

For a mere $10,000, one lucky person will walk away with an integral piece of Baltimore's music history.

Years and years ago, it was a bar with live music called Chambers. If memory serves, it became The Ottobar in the '90s, and then the Talking Head Club in 2002.

The Talking Head abandoned the Davis Street space in 2008 at the end of 2006, and eventually moved to a side room at Sonar. The Ottobar is now on North Howard Street ...

Continue reading "Old Talking Head/Ottobar building up for auction" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:36 PM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

April 27, 2010

Dan Deacon + 'Total Recall' + Maryland Film Festival = awesomesauce

TOTAL RECALL TWO WEEKS TWO WEEKS AAAAAAAAAHLocal eccentric, eclectic, electric musician Dan Deacon is hosting a 35mm screening of the epic sci-fi masterpiece Total Recall as part of this year's Maryland Film Festival.

As an old friend of mine would say: Oh sniggity oh snaps!

My colleague Mike Sragow has all the info over at his bliggity blog, Sragow Gets Reel.

I'm going to talk to Dan Deacon in TWO WEEKS tomorrow about the screening. But I already know it's going to be epic. E.P.I.C.

Why? I'll tell you why ...

Continue reading "Dan Deacon + 'Total Recall' + Maryland Film Festival = awesomesauce" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:38 PM | | Comments (2)
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April 24, 2010

Check out the Station North Spring Music Festival today

nicole atkinsRain or shine, the Station North Arts and Entertainment District is holding its annual Spring Music Festival today.

It's free, the beer's cheap and the company is unparalleled. Need more motivation?

Here's the lineup of bands. DJ Pablo Fiasco will spin between sets:

3 p.m. - J+B Blues Project (Virginia) - (the 14-yr-old twin guitar whiz kids)
4 p.m. - Soul Cannon (Baltimore)
5 p.m. - Bearkat (Maryland)
6 p.m. - noon:30 (Washington, D.C.)
6:45 p.m. - Holly Miranda (Brooklyn, NY + Detroit)
7:15 p.m. - Nicole Atkins (pictured, from Asbury Park, NJ)
8 p.m. - Think About Life (Montreal)

(Photo by Getty Images)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:55 AM | | Comments (1)
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April 22, 2010

Catching up with the Oranges Band on their 10th anniversary

this is the oranges band, or, perhaps, a more recent incarnation  of the oranges bandIn the past decade, the Oranges Band has been one of the most persistently solid presences in Baltimore's indie rock scene.

Fronted by singer/guitarist Roman Kuebler, the band has had a bunch of different members over the years. The band's sound has gone from blistering garage rock to more calculated indie rock and back again.

Saturday, the band is celebrating its 10 year anniversary with a show at The Ottobar. Here is a link to a profile I wrote of the group, which will be in tomorrow's Live! section ...

Continue reading "Catching up with the Oranges Band on their 10th anniversary" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

Rumors: HFStival to return to Merriweather Sept. 18

third-eye blindAfter a four year hiatus, the HFStival could return to Merriweather Post Pavilion Sept. 18, according to local media news and gossip site DCRTV.

If the rumors are true, the lineup could include a where-are-they-now list of '90s acts such as Third Eye Blind (pictured), Fuel, Marcy Playground, Better Than Ezra, Billy Idol and Presidents of the USA.

Though HFS no longer exists as a terrestrial radio station, it continues to stream online and broadcast on 94.7's HD2 channel ...

Continue reading "Rumors: HFStival to return to Merriweather Sept. 18" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:02 AM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Local music
        

April 21, 2010

Meet Mz Streamz, who could be Baltimore's next breakout MC

mz streamzShe has collaborated with the Gorillaz and Lily Allen.

She has been retired from freestyle battles on 92Q after winning for five weeks straight. She schooled a rapper from Philly in an MC battle on the streets of South Baltimore. She has signed to New York-based label Milkcrate, which will release her first mixtape tomorrow.

Meet Mz Streamz, a Baltimore-based MC who might just become one of the city's next hip-hop breakouts.

Here's a link to my profile of Streamz, which ran in Sunday's Arts section.

(Photo courtesy of Milkcrate)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:20 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

April 20, 2010

If you like the 9:30 Club, you'll love this

seth hurwitz, co-owner of the 9:30 ClubAs someone who has seen hundreds of live shows, I can tell you that the 9:30 Club is one of my all-time favorite places to see live music.

Most bands who've played the Washington club will say the same thing. It has an outstanding sound system, great sight lines and one of the widest-ranging concert lineups of any club you'll find.

Check it out here.

This year, the 9:30 Club turned 30, and to commemorate the occasion, Washington Post writer (and former music critic) J. Freedom du Lac put together a fascinating multimedia package chronicling the club's 30-year history, from its inception to the move to its current digs ...

Continue reading "If you like the 9:30 Club, you'll love this" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:08 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Local music
        

April 14, 2010

My new project: "Sheilly Dan," a reality TV show

get  ready, world. "sheilly dan" is coming!Attention world: There is a new reality TV show in the works, and it's going to blow your mind.

We're going to get former mayor Sheila Dixon and experimental music genius Dan Deacon to live together for a month -- inside the Bromo Seltzer Tower -- and film the whole thing.

We're going to call it "Sheilly Dan."

Lookout, Baltimore -- this show is going to drop the awesome bomb. You can't see it, but right now, I'm rubbing my hands together in a decidedly devious way.

Don't hate. Don't doubt. I already spoke with Deacon, who was reluctant at first, but quickly warmed to the idea.

"I don't know, man," he said. "Maybe. Sure." ...

Continue reading "My new project: "Sheilly Dan," a reality TV show" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:02 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff
        

A local DJ's guide to buying vinyl records

this person is playing a record on what is commonly known as a  turn table. it's called that because it sits on a table and spins the  records. music ensues.

After last week's column about DJs spinning vinyl, I thought it would be appropriate to get some advice on looking for and buying vinyl records.

Patrick "DJ Action Pat" Griffin, who regularly plays Save Your Soul at Lithuanian Hall, has been collecting vinyl for the past 10 years.

His collection, which numbers about 4,000, is heavy on soul, R&B and rock 'n' roll from the '50s.

Over time, Griffin has developed strategies for where to find the most obscure records, and how much to pay. Here are his tips for aspiring vinyl collectors ...

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:37 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

April 13, 2010

Brian Morrison's new music video: "Choptank River Boys"

brian morrisonBaltimore-based director Brian Morrison (pictured) is back with a new music video, ladies and gents.

You may remember Morrison from wild and crazy music videos like the one for Lazerbitch's "Coquette" or The Cheaters' "Blow My Mind."

With this new video, for singer/songwriter Michael Butler's "Choptank River Boys," Morrison moved away from the wacky antics of his past couple videos, in favor of a more straightforward approach.

It looks like he spent some time down on the river, getting shots of folks fishing and geese flying, interwoven with shots of Butler strumming his 12-string out on a pier and inside a bar.

Morrison said he shot the video on a Canon 7D camera, which weighs less than five pounds. Here's the video ...

Continue reading "Brian Morrison's new music video: "Choptank River Boys"" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:53 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

April 10, 2010

Three of Baltimore's best dance parties

a woman grooves at always dope at red mapleIn yesterday's Live! weekend section, I wrote a nightlife column about three of the best dance parties around town.

What were they?

Reaction! at the Sidebar Tavern, Save Your Soul at Lithuanian Hall and Always Dope at Red Maple.

Check out the whole column here.

I also talked to DJ Action Pat, and got tips from him about the best places to find old vinyl records. For some reason, I can't seem to find that piece online. I'll dig it up and post it later.

(Baltimore Sun photo by Colby Ware)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

April 7, 2010

Where to find parking at local music venues

merriweather post pavilion

Most concertgoers -- at least in an around Baltimore -- face one nagging question before every show:

Where is the best place to park?

It can be hassling and expensive to park in nearby garages, and many live music fans are hesitant to look for parking in an unfamiliar area.

Usually, there are options, if you know where to look ...

Continue reading "Where to find parking at local music venues" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:32 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

April 5, 2010

Bmore Musically Informed starts a vinyl music label

future islandsCDs were the new vinyl. Then, mp3s were the new CDs. These days, vinyl is the new mp3.

Local music blog Bmore Musically Informed has teamed up with Sound Garden manager Jimmy MacMillan to found a new music label, and plans to release vinyl albums and singles from Baltimore groups in the near future.

Called Friends Records, the label has lined up releases by Weekends, Sri Aurobindo, Future Islands (pictured)/Lonnie Walker and Height With Friends.

If all goes as planned, three of those will be out this spring, with the Future Islands/Lonnie Walker split 7" set for August ...

Continue reading "Bmore Musically Informed starts a vinyl music label" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:32 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

April 2, 2010

The summer's 10 biggest local concerts

If I can have your attention for just a moment, gang, I'd like to tell you about my list of the 10 biggest summer concerts coming to the Baltimore region.

I tried to get a little bit of everything on this list, from Peter Frampton to Insane Clown Posse ... and beyond. The folks at baltimoresun.com turned the list into a nifty photo gallery, too.

Check it out.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:26 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local music
        

March 23, 2010

What happened at the Megadeth Rams Head Live show

old photos of megadeth like this one, from 1994, rawk. Last week, something happened at Megadeth's show at Rams Head Live, forcing the band to postpone the concert until the following night.

Fingers were pointed at the band and at the venue.

Today, I spoke with promoter Mark Mangold, who got to the bottom of the issue. According to Mark, someone threw a water bottle, which doused the main house mixing board, causing it to short out. The show couldn't go on.

The sold-out crowd was understandably angry. A few people punched holes in the walls of the club, which have since been repaired, Mangold said.

"People were frustrated," he said.

(Photo of Megadeth in 1992 by Gene Kirkland)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:39 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Local music
        

March 17, 2010

Megadeth show rescheduled for tonight due to technical difficulties

look! it's megadeth, circa 1997! RAWK!Details are still murky at this point, but some kind of serious technical difficulty forced thrash metal gods Megadeth to scrap last night's sold-out show at Rams Head Live.

The band had to stop playing after a few songs, leaving more than a thousand concertgoers more than a little unhappy.

All is not lost, though -- Megadeth has booked a makeup gig tonight for all the folks who had tickets to last night's ill-fated show ...

Continue reading "Megadeth show rescheduled for tonight due to technical difficulties" »

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Categories: Local music
        

March 16, 2010

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2010: What bands would you like to see?

thirsty? virgin mobile commander in chief richard branson serves  beer at last year's Virgin Mobile FreeFestWhip out your wish lists, gang -- I want to know what bands you think will headline this year's Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

In case you missed the announcement last night, yes, the festival is returning for another year at Merriweather Post Pavilion. And yes, it's going to be free again.

Since none of the bands/dates are set yet, that leaves plenty of room for speculation.

So what's your dream lineup? ...

Continue reading "Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2010: What bands would you like to see?" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:10 AM | | Comments (163)
Categories: Local music
        

March 15, 2010

Virgin Mobile FreeFest to return to Merriweather

weezer at virgin mobile freefestThe Virgin Mobile FreeFest will be back for another year at Merriweather Post Pavilion, organizers confirmed today.

And yes, as the name implies, it will be free again.

Though no headliners or dates have been picked yet, the festival is sure to be one of the region's biggest live music events.

Last year, a capacity crowd flooded the Columbia amphitheater to see bands such as Weezer, Blink-182 and Franz Ferdinand ...

Continue reading "Virgin Mobile FreeFest to return to Merriweather " »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:28 PM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Local music
        

March 13, 2010

Reaction! is still going strong at the Sidebar Tavern

reaction posterYears ago, one of my very first nightlife columns was on a new mod-themed monthly dance party called Reaction!, held at the Sidebar Tavern every second Friday.

DJ Amanda Otto spun '60s and '70s grooves plucked from her big boxes of vintage 45s, and a retro-sounding band played a 30- or 45-minute set. Some folks came dressed in short skirts, leather boots and other mod attire. It was a cool idea for a dance party.

But given the shelf life of most Baltimore dance parties (save for a few like TaxLo), I didn't expect Reaction! to make it more than a year or two. 

Silly me.

Last night, a few Midnight Sunners and I hit up the Sidebar for Reaction!, and the scene was outta sight, baby.

Side note: I love the throwback posters Amanda uses to advertise the party ...

Continue reading "Reaction! is still going strong at the Sidebar Tavern" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:29 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

March 11, 2010

Let's give a warm welcome to Party On It

j-roddy walston and the business knows how to rawk.Big things are happening for local rockers J-Roddy Walston and the Business.

They signed a record deal. They're working on a new album.

And now, drummer Steve Colmus has a blog, called Party On It. Dig it here.

Steve's first entry posted yesterday.

It's about their record deal, gearing up for the music festival South by Southwest and being picked as one of Spin's 50 Must Hear Bands of SXSW ...

Continue reading "Let's give a warm welcome to Party On It" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:37 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local music
        

March 9, 2010

Gavin DeGraw is a good tipper, apparently

gavin degraw HIMSELF

At around 10:30 or 11 p.m. after the final day of last year's state fair, the Ernie Fowler Trio was performing at Hightopps Backstage Grille in Timonium, right near the fairgrounds. I'll let band member Mike Prout tell the rest of the story, in his own words:

It was pretty packed night. In the middle of our second set, people were coming up to us, asking for songs. Some were even coming up in the middle of songs to try and talk to us.

I'd be like, 'I'm in the middle of playing and I can't talk to you.' So I stopped making eye contact when I saw anybody approaching. I remember we were playing "Drive" by Incubus and took it right into "Keep On Rocking in the Free World."

We were in the middle of that, and I was wailing some guitar lead when I see out of the corner of my eye somebody approaching. I was like, 'Oh no, he's going to want to talk to me.' ...

Continue reading "Gavin DeGraw is a good tipper, apparently" »

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Categories: Local music
        

March 8, 2010

Tonight: Low Strung at Joe Squared

cello styleHow could this be anything but awesome?

Low Strung, a group of cellists who cover classic rock songs, is coming to Joe Squared tonight. The show is free and starts at 10 p.m.

I went to their MySpace site and listened to their version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."

Bach would approve, methinks.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:27 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

March 6, 2010

Check out Letters From the War at the Creative Alliance tonight

Local musician Michael Beresh had two great uncles who fought and died in World War II. Recently, Beresh came upon a bunch of long lost letters sent by his uncles to his family, and set their words to music. Tonight, he'll perform them at the Creative Alliance. For more info on the show, go here. Also, the City Paper had an interesting piece on the project. Check it out.
Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:07 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

February 26, 2010

How well did Ticketfly handle the My Morning Jacket Merriweather show?

Tickets for My Morning Jacket's May 1 show at Merriweather Post Pavilion went on sale at 10 a.m. today. This was the first Merriweather show handled by new ticket broker Ticketfly.

So, how did Ticketfly do? Did you have any problems? What did you think of Ticketfly's system? I've heard mixed reports ...

Continue reading "How well did Ticketfly handle the My Morning Jacket Merriweather show?" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:52 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Local music
        

February 19, 2010

Disco Biscuits, New Deal, Pretty Lights to headline Starscape Festival

the new dealThe Disco Biscuits, The New Deal (pictured), Lotus and Pretty Lights are among the headliners of this year's Starscape Festival, organizers announced today.

The festival, which features nearly 20 bands and DJs in four performance areas, takes place 2 p.m.-6 a.m. Jun 5 in Fort Armistead Park.

"We really stacked it this year," said promoter Evan Weinstein.

Here is the current lineup. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks ...

Continue reading "Disco Biscuits, New Deal, Pretty Lights to headline Starscape Festival" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:17 PM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Local music
        

February 18, 2010

Merriweather drops Ticketmaster, signs with Ticketfly

fansatmerriweather.jpg

Severing its final ties with the recently merged Ticketmaster/Live Nation conglomerate, Merriweather Post Pavilion operator I.M.P. has signed with independent ticket distributor and marketer Ticketfly, officials announced today.

Starting this season, Ticketfly will handle all of the Columbia amphitheater's ticket sales, according to I.M.P. chairman Seth Hurwitz. Hurwitz, an outspoken opponent of Live Nation, began using Ticketfly for shows at the 9:30 Club, which I.M.P. also runs, near the end of last year.

"This is obviously a major venue for (Ticketfly), but we've had a great time with them," Hurwitz said. "They seem to be able to handle anything."

Through Ticketfly, customers will not have to pay a fee to print tickets at home, and service charges will drop as much as 30 percent, Hurwitz said. ...

Continue reading "Merriweather drops Ticketmaster, signs with Ticketfly" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:00 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

February 13, 2010

Checking in with Secret Mountains

secret mountainsHere's Splice Today editor Zach Kaufmann with a Q&A with Secret Mountains:

Along with Weekends and Lands & Peoples, one of the best bands to come out of Baltimore in the past year or so are indie rockers Secret Mountains (formerly The Owls Go).

Their first EP, Kaddish, released late last summer, drifts back and forth between dreamy folk pop and wailing anthemic post-rock, all held together by Kelly Laughlin's beautifully gentle vocals.

After their recent show with Vetiver, I checked in with Kelly via email to see how everything was going:

How do you think the music you're making now differs from what you were doing with The Owls Go? Is the process very different?

The songs we're playing now are a lot fuller and more dynamic since it's not just vocals and guitar. We're constantly exploring different styles and have been reworking some of the songs we played when it was just Jeff and I in The Owls Go. The process hasn't changed drastically -- Jeff or I will come up with a basic version of the song, work with the lyrics and then add onto it, only no more doing handclaps over GarageBand. ...

Continue reading "Checking in with Secret Mountains" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music
        

February 7, 2010

Checking in with Small Sur

small surSplice Today editor Zach Kaufmann was kind enough to share a conversation he recently had with Small Sur. Here's Zach:

Since their debut full length, "We Live in Houses Made of Wood," came out in the summer of 2008, Baltimore folkies Small Sur have caused quite a buzz, earning reviews from blogs like Tiny Mix Tapes to the music gliteratti over at NPR.

Back from a cross-country tour and with their beautiful Daytrotter session recently posted, I talked to frontman Bob Keal about the Baltimore music scene ...

Continue reading "Checking in with Small Sur" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:30 AM | | Comments (0)
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February 5, 2010

Tif's tales: Rapping with KRS-One

krs-oneI had no idea Midnight Sun commenter Tif was so tied into the local hip-hop scene. Either that or he's a compulsive liar. You decide.

In this multi-part series, Tif will talk about some of his encounters with hip-hop icons. Today, it's hip-hop pioneer KRS-One. Take it away, Tif:

Though I toured the country performing a "Hip-Hop is Dead" piece, I am, despite the rumors, a fan of hip-hop.

I am not a fan of rap and since that's enough fodder for a thesis, we won't go that route.

My fondest memories are hosting shows with my partner DJ P-Funk. He would headline with artists, open the stage for local artists, and include all the elements of hip-hop in his shows.

There would be plywood outside for graffiti artists, breakers and dancers on the floor, he would be spinning on the tables, beat boxers would be on stage and of cource the emcees.  We did these shows at The Ottobar, Fletchers, and Sonar. ...

Continue reading "Tif's tales: Rapping with KRS-One" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

January 29, 2010

Hexagon to go non-profit, stop paying ASCAP fees

The Hexagon, a live music club in Station North run by a collective of volunteers, will no longer pay fees to music licensing organizations such as ASCAP and BMI, officials announced this week.

The club is on its way to becoming a non-profit, according to board member Leeann Brown. It has reached non-profit status in the state, and is on the path to becoming a 501(c)(3). Effective immediately, bands and DJs who perform at the club can only play music that's original, fair use or in the public domain. ...

Continue reading "Hexagon to go non-profit, stop paying ASCAP fees" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:33 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

Windup Space to host inaugural NOVO Festival

the bar at the windup spaceIn early March, The Windup Space is hosting the first NOVO Fest, a five-day event featuring a variety of all-instrumental bands.

Windup Space owner Russell de Ocampo, who himself plays in the local instrumental group Yeveto, said the festival will bring together all kinds of voice-less music, including experimental, post rock and jazz. The festival, which runs March 2-6, will be recorded by Mobtown Studios for a future release, possibly on local music blog Aural States.

"People might not be aware, but there's tons of instrumental bands that don't get heard of as much," de Ocampo said. "I'm trying to put it out there and have people see what it's all about."

Here is the current festival lineup, which could change in the coming weeks ...

Continue reading "Windup Space to host inaugural NOVO Festival" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:51 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

January 28, 2010

Free music tonight? Oh yeah.

3fifthsTonight only (I love that phrase), you can see two great local bands for free at The 8x10.

Baltimore Sun sister publication b is throwing a reader appreciation bash featuring live music by Sticky Mulligan and 3Fifths. They're both solid local bands.

3Fifths is a staple on the local jam/rock scene. And I actually just had Sticky Mulligan in studio to tape an episode of Baltimore Unsigned last night.

Now, since the show is free, it's going to sell out. There are two ways to get tickets ...

Continue reading "Free music tonight? Oh yeah." »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:26 PM | | Comments (0)
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January 25, 2010

Checking in with Beach House

beach houseIt's been a busy year for Beach House.

Since early 2009, the Baltimore dream pop duo has written a bunch of new songs, retreated to upstate New York to record them and signed to Sub Pop Records. The new album, "Teen Dream," comes out tomorrow.

A week ago, I met up with guitarist Alex Scally and singer/keyboardist Victoria Legrand in their East Baltimore warehouse practice space and talked to them for a couple hours about the new music.

Here's a link to a lengthy profile I wrote on the band, which ran in yesterday's A&E section.

And here are a few things that didn't make the paper ...

Continue reading "Checking in with Beach House" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:52 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

January 21, 2010

Dru Hill reunites, plans new album, reality TV show and tour

druhill.jpg

Baltimore R&B sensation Dru Hill has reunited, officials announced today.

After an eight-year hiatus from recording, the multi-platinum group has inked a deal with label Kedar Entertainment, and plans to release an album, "InDRUPendence," on April 13, followed by an international tour and a role in the reality TV show "Sweat's Platinum House."

Their first new single, "Love M.D.," hits radio Jan. 26, according to publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.

"It's going to be big," Quinn said. "It's going to be huge." ...

Continue reading "Dru Hill reunites, plans new album, reality TV show and tour" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:26 AM | | Comments (10)
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January 18, 2010

Introducing Back Alley Jazz

the alley of back alley jazz

If all goes as planned, this trash-strewn West Baltimore alley will look completely different in a few weeks.

This will be the official entrance to Back Alley Jazz, an upscale live music club on the 1100 block of West Baltimore Street. 

The owners, Daniel Chreky and Errez Segman, have been rehabbing the building for about two years, and aim to open the club sometime next month.

Here is a link (for real) to a piece I did on the club, which ran in yesterday's paper.

According to liquor board records, they invested more than $400,000 renovating the space, which will have a 1920s feel, they said.

It's a risky move -- but one they think will pay off.

(Photo by me)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:37 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

January 11, 2010

Nissan Pavilion renamed Jiffy Lube Live

nissan pavilion circa 1995In what can only be described as a slick move, Live Nation has signed a seven-year partnership with Jiffy Lube which will rename the Nissan Pavilion (pictured) Jiffy Lube Live.

Live Nation officials confirmed this is not a joke.

Effective immediately, the Virginia amphitheater will be known as Jiffy Lube Live.

"Brands like Jiffy Lube realize that an association with live music is a very impactful way to drive their business, and Live Nation offers an unparalleled platform to reach music fans, Live Nation spokesman Robert Muller wrote in an e-mail.

(Baltimore Sun archive photo)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:11 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Local music
        

January 5, 2010

The Top 30 Local Songs of 2009

It might be 2010 already, but I'm still in looking-back mode.

A ton of great music came out of the region in 2009, and I want to give it all its proper due. Here are the Top 30 Local Songs of 2009, according to myself and the rest of the Baltimore Unsigned crew ...

Continue reading "The Top 30 Local Songs of 2009" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:52 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local music
        

January 4, 2010

1st Mariner named best arena of its size in the U.S.

1st mariner arenaThe 1st Mariner Arena is the top arena of its size in the U.S., according to industry publications Billboard Magazine and Venues Today.

After a star-studded year which included performances from Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and Jay-Z, the aging venue took the No. 1 spot for arenas with capacities from 10,001 to 15,000.

The results were based on the number of tickets sold and gross revenue, according to Frank Remesch, 1st Mariner's general manager.

"We had a heck of a run this year," Remesch said. "I wouldn't say I'm surprised, but I'm proud. ... This is a neat feeling." ...

Continue reading "1st Mariner named best arena of its size in the U.S." »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:29 PM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Local music
        

More on Josh Dibb, aka Deacon from Animal Collective

josh dibb of animal collectiveLast week, I posted about how Josh Dibb, aka Deacon from Animal Collective, was raising money for charity.

There's actually much more to it than that. 

I wrote a piece which appeared in yesterday's paper about Dibb's decision to take a leave of absence from the band after his father died a couple years ago.

Dibb removed himself from the daily business of the band, and worked on several projects that had nothing to do with music.

This gig at the Festival au Desert in Africa is the beginnig of Dibb's return to music ...

Continue reading "More on Josh Dibb, aka Deacon from Animal Collective" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:58 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local music
        

December 30, 2009

Deacon from Animal Collective needs your help

deacon, aka josh dibb, from animal collective

In 2007, Josh "Deacon" Dibb (pictured), a founding member of the indie group Animal Collective, took an indefinite break from touring and writing music.

He worked on Animal Collective's film, "ODDSAC," which was recently finished. He moved back to Owings Mills, where he lives with his mother, Jessica. He helped friends build an earthen house in Annapolis.

About a month ago, Dibb was invited to perform at the Festival in the Desert in Mali, Africa. But in order for Dibb to play, he needed music. So finally, he started seriously working on new material. 

Now, he's asking for tax deductible donations to help abolish slavery in Africa. You can make a donation by going here. If you contribute $50 or more, you will get a copy of Dibb's new CD after he returns. But the pledge window closes tomorrow, so if you're going to do it, do it now.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:37 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local music
        

December 28, 2009

Emerging from the cookie coma

stoutOh goodness is it really Monday morning? That must mean it's time to put an end to Gorgefest '09 (aka Christmas feast).

I stuffed my face on meats and sweets (but not sweetmeats), and took a much-needed hiatus from work and the blog.

But now I'm back in business (and ain't it grand). Where were we?

Well, in case you haven't been around for the past few days, you missed this article about Stout, one of Baltimore's hardest-rocking, longest-running hard-core bands ...

Continue reading "Emerging from the cookie coma" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:29 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music
        

December 21, 2009

Looking back on 2009

Yesterday, the big story in the arts and entertainment section was a look back at nine trends of 2009. I pitched in for two of them: Local bands in 2009 and live music in 2009.

When I thought about it, I realized: For local musicians and music lovers in general, 2009 was a great year.

It seemed like every prominent local band signed a record contract or released a well-received album. Beach House, J-Roddy, Double Dagger, Wye Oak, Dan Deacon were just a few of them. Here's a link with more about it.

But let's not forget live music ...

Continue reading "Looking back on 2009" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:40 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Local music
        

December 16, 2009

Aural States Fest II is coming!

heightAural States, the blog that brought you Aural States Fest I is returning ... with Aural States Fest II.

Oh snap!

Sonar and the Talking Head Club will host the festival, which takes place Jan. 30. I have it on good authority that this will not only be the second Aural States Fest -- it will also be the last.

If I understand correctly, Aural States' main man Greg Setzo is moving out of Bmore next year. Then again, you know how I am with rumors.

Are you ready for the lineup? Of course you are. And what a lineup it is ...

Continue reading "Aural States Fest II is coming!" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Local music