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June 2014
Thomas Comerford
"II
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mp3

Thomas Comerford has spent the last three years preparing for his second solo album, II, the follow up 2011's Archive + Spiral. The result is a thoughtful, introspective album filled folk and western sounds and themes. Most of the eight tracks are built from acoustic guitar and deep, rich vocals. The sound and style could be compared to Mike Johnson. Several tracks, "Silt and Dust", "Chrysalis", "Prefer Not To", and others, then build with twang and organic instrumentation into small southern symphonies. This is bedroom meets barroom but at times it swells into larger realms. This is most apparent in "Done and Done" with its lush full band sound. II will be released by Strange Weather Records on June 10th.


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Koshari's new double A single Into Shreds/Just In Time

The first time I heard the songs off Koshari’s new double A-side, Into Shreds/Just In Time, was live at the Black Squirrel this past Sunday. Due to the realities of the venue, Koshari’s guitarist Bryan Baxter opted to play his part with an acoustic guitar and a small selection of pedals. Though he was uncertain of the result, the set was beautiful, reminding me immediately of The Cocteau Twins’ tides of sparkling crystal sound. Barbara Western’s vocal melodies also remind me of Elizabeth Fraser’s, though Barbara’s words are more comprehensible. On record, the guitars in these songs are far more aggressive.

The combination of loud and abrasive guitars, pedal-play, and delicate vocals easily peg Koshari as a “shoegaze” band, with a significant debt owed to British bands like MBV. Yet Koshari’s sound differs significantly. They more often recall (perhaps unsurprisingly) the American wall-of-sound post-hardcore bands of the same period. The guitars are not ethereal crinkly cellophane, and there’s none of MBV’s trademark tremolo abuse. Koshari’s guitars are lush and thick; they chug and assault and dive quickly. The bass is easily discernible, and provides a melodic groove, while the drums are only mildly distorted and chewy, and the tempo is a hard drive rather than a lethargic shuffle or frenetic dance.

I’m having a hard time choosing which of the two songs to post below, so I’ll just pick “Into Shreds” because it’s the first one as presented on their bandcamp. I strongly suggest also listening to "Just In Time" (it should play through automatically). There’s a lot to hear in both songs (the differences between the songs are interesting if you’re into this sort of sound-play), they’re both catchy, and you’ll want to listen to them repeatedly. --Natan Press

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My Darling Fury release video for Over, Under.

My Darling Fury released a music video for their song, "Over, Under" (off of new LP Licking Wounds) on The Vinyl District. The catchingly simplistic video utilizes light and shadows to capture the eye as the music captures the listener’s mind. Todd Matthews did a wonderful job as audio engineer, producer and editor to help create an intoxicating mixture of visual and aural art.

It’s close to impossible to listen to the beginning of My Darling Fury’s song without thinking of Radiohead. Dreamy guitar and bass lines linger as trembling vocals slowly begin their ascent. As the song continues, it morphs to include synthesized patterns, heavier bass and percussion. Pedal effects aid in the transition from psychedelic-art rock opening to pop-rock ending. You can catch them next Wednesday, May 28th, at The Camel in Richmond, for the RVA Playlist Birthday Party, with The Trillions and Vexine--Hannah Brady

Over, Under - My Darling Fury from Todd Matthews on Vimeo.

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Bearshark Release New Record, bid Farewell at RnR Hotel, May 24th.

DC’s Bearshark are releasing their second and final record, as members Mick and Kiel head out West on new adventures. 2011’s Gorilla Defense EP showcased the band’s eclectic tastes, blending post-rock and Modest Mouse’s jagged, rusty, aggressively syncopated guitars. The track "Canyonlands" was the most dynamic and rich in influence, opening with a severe ode to 60’s western soundtrack music, reverberating guitars crashing through piles of cymbals into a peaceful star-filled landscape and back again, a journey across the range climaxing with an indie-rock charge into the night. "Canyonlands" reappears on the new record (as the title track), in a new form, and the changes in the song reflect the differences between the two records.

For Canyonlands, Bearshark have dropped much of the angular guitar-work in favor of atmospherics reminiscent of Mogwai. Now the Morricone guitars trail comets through billowing stardust on space-western adventures. On the track "Needles" (linked below), guitars float weightlessly, slowly gathering momentum before blasting off on rockets powered by exploding drums, propelling richly layered guitars and synths to galaxies far away in search of the next glorious victory.

You can join the band for one last adventure at their record release and farewell show, presented by the DC Area Deli, at the Rock and Roll Hotel on May 24th (doors at 7PM, music at 7:30--tickets here). Bearshark will be releasing the record at the show, as digital download codes, on flash drives, and with a special limited edition art print! Don't miss your last chance to see Bearshark, as they headline a set showcasing musical wonders from across the DMV, including Black Girls (Richmond), Alex Vans (DC), and Andy Bopp (Baltimore). --Natan Press


Brandon Davis' "Lay You Down"

Brandon Davis’ recently released single “Lay You Down” is fantastic. Pensive acoustic guitar and melancholy vocals aid in creating a touchingly longing tone. His honest lyrics about watching someone he cares about struggle with addiction while trying to handle his own really hit home. --Hannah Brady

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The NRIs' Playground EP: indiegogo campaign and release show.

The NRIs are working towards the release of their third EP, Playground EP, and they need your help! Their indiegogo campaign is nearing completion, and there are some great rewards beyond the normal copy of the EP. Many of the members of the bands are teachers of music and you can get a lesson, or you can splurge and get on the band’s guest list for life! There’s even the option to attend a Nationals game. It’s all very exciting. You can check out the world premiere of “The Streets” on the April 29th edition of the Hometown Sounds Podcast along with lots of other great music (as usual). And don’t miss the NRIs record release show at Iota on May 31st; it’s a special one, with an early all-ages version (for the kiddies, and folks with kiddies) at 5PM, and a 21+ version at 9PM. Check out their promo-video below.

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Amos Piper opens for Amen Dunes at Sixth & I on May 14th.

Baltimore’s Amos Piper won our recent Band of the Month Poll, and they're just getting started. They will be opening for enchanting new alt-folk star Amen Dunes at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue on May 14th. It’s a great lineup that will highlight Amos Piper's chill, jazzy, dream-pop, both sets being full of soft tones and warm drones, and should make for a perfect warm Wednesday evening of music in a beautiful space. You can check out Amen Dunes’ album Love streaming on Pitchfork, and some Amos Piper tracks on Soundcloud.

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Tonight at Galaxy Hut: Dead Women and Nice Breeze

There's an awesome two-band lineup at Galaxy Hut tonight (May 5th) for those interested in seeing some solid gritty garage-rock bands poised to start playing much larger venues in the near future. The Dead Women are preparing their second release (May 30th) which you can preview over on their Bandcamp. A frenetic rhythm section drives gnarly guitars and melodic vocals, propelling the band towards a sound that's a combination of early Wire and The Smiths. Nice Breeze strips their sound bare of anything but pure high volume, high gain distortion from their amps and shouting phrases. Lo-fi indie-rock and roll at its best. I'm gonna link Nice Breeze's Transparency for you, 'cause I love the vicious retro guitar sound, but don’t hesitate to check out the other links and come out to this show! --Natan Press

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Hypercolor's Resonate.

I’ve been listening to Hypercolor’s second EP Resonate a lot since it was released. I was led to it while covering (DC Deli Band of the Month for April) Avers. Hypercolor is the project of Avers’ bass player Alexandra, and Adrian, one of the (many) guitar players. It shares Avers’ technical proficiency, both with the instruments, and in the studio, and the sound is reminiscent to Avers in a psychedelic/shoegazey kind of way. I think where Avers is “rock,” one would call Hypercolor “folk.”

Perhaps psych-folk? I dunno. It’s pretty, and soft, kinda chill, but purely, almost aggressively, analog, with soaring, screeching guitar riffs lifting above clouds of background harmonies, chiming and buzzing layers of rhythm guitar, fuzzy bass and occasionally thunderous drums accented tastefully with reverb. Alexandra's voice is sweet and comforting. Hypercolor is a good name for the band; the sound is vibrant. The definition of resonate is “produce or fill with a deep, full, reverberating sound.” No false advertising here. This EP is a refreshing thunderstorm passing by too quickly under a hot summer sunset. I think it’s gonna be a favorite of mine all summer, and I can’t wait for what’s next. --Natan Press 

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