The Vaselines’ At The Rock & Roll Hotel In DC

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on January 15, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Vaselines 1

If all you had to go on was the stage patter from last night’s glorious show by The Vaselines at D.C.’s Rock & Roll Hotel, it would be easy to understand why the Scottish band is known as much for their absence as their presence, for their breaking up 25 years ago the week their debut album was released, for their not recording another album for 20 years, even as their having been championed by Kurt Cobain as his favorite pair of songwriters made them the stuff of legend.  Long since broken up as lovers, too, though lately reformed as the Western world’s greatest purveyors of melodic punk rock, endearingly sweet Frances McKee and the faux supercilious Eugene Kelly still quibble and quarrel and goad each other on the stage, ah, but the music, the music was sublime.

Drawing from all three of their albums, The Vaselines live consist of the core members surrounded by apple-cheeked young folk, including Michael McGauphrin, a kick-ass punk rock drummer, Scott Paterson, the most tasteful lead guitarist since John McGeoch, and in Graeme Smillie, a thumpingly powerful bassist.  From the early work, it was fun hearing two of the songs Nirvana recorded, “Molly’s Lips” and “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam,” as well as the song that announced them to us as a force to be reckoned with: “Sex Sux (Amen.)” Their triumphant return album, 2010’s Sex With An X was well represented, with “Ruined” and “The Devil Inside Me” a reminder of how thrilling it was, just a few years ago, to find out that The Vaselines were real, not a rock’n’roll snipe hunt one pursued without being certain the band actually existed.

Vaselines 2-2

It is V For Vaselines, which took the # 3 slot on The 2014 Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List (c), that provided the most fun — and the most hope that this present incarnation of The Vaselines lives on for as many years as they were absent. Live, “Earth Is Speeding” was a reminder that as simple as their songwriting is, The Vaselines have the texture of a band like Roxy Music in its antic prime. “Crazy Lady,” which thankfully was restarted after it got off on a false note, is the Platonic ideal of a Mekons classic.  The three-guitar structure, punctuated by a propulsive rhythm section, shows that while Eugene may hate the ’80s, it was the front end of that decade, and the preceding fours years of British punk, that gave The Vaselines their wall-of-sound power.

“Bubble gum meets Velvet Underground” is the way they once described the band.  They’re a wee bit more complex today than that.  Let’s hope The Vaselines slide through a great American tour, that their stage antics are shtick, and Eugene and Frances can keep it going for years to come.

Image From DC’s High Heel Race Was Chosen For The 2015 Exposed DC Photography Show

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 14, 2015 by johnbuckley100

The winners of the 9th Annual Exposed DC Photography Show were announced yesterday, and we’re honored one of our submissions was chosen.  There are some wonderful images taken by members of DC’s thriving photographic community chosen for the show, and you should check them out.

The High Heel Race, which we chronicled in late October, is a really fun event.

High Heel Race

Details to follow on the March 12th bash to celebrate the photos and photographers.  Thank you, Exposed DC.

Points Of View

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 10, 2015 by johnbuckley100

The Bishop’s Garden, Washington National Cathedral.

Many Points of View

We Wish We’d Included Violet Woods, Amen Dunes, And Angel Olsen On The 2014 Tulip Frenzy Top 10 List

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by johnbuckley100

It always happens.  We publish the Tulip Frenzy Top 10 List and then discover, often from others’ lists, recs we missed.  So before we tell you what we overlooked, let’s give thanks where it’s due.

From Uncut, we learned about Violet Woods.  From former Woods bassist Kevin Morby, we were turned on to The Amen Dunes.  And from NPR’s Bob Boilen, we learned of Angel Olsen.  Thank you all.

On the self-titled Violet Woods, Fuzzy Lights frontman Xavier — that’s the full name listed in the Uncut write-up — takes us on a quiet ride through British psych pop, and it is sonically gorgeous.  (We hadn’t heard of the Fuzzy Lights either, but that’s a different story.  Let’s just say that Violet Woods is Xavier’s louder band.)  We’re used to smart rock coming out of Cambridge, from Syd Barrett to the Soft Boys to Radiohead, but this is unpretentious guitar jangle that will be reassuringly familiar to anyone who loved The Perfect Disaster or Luna.  If you like Temples, think of  Violet Woods as the quieter, prettier sibling who was grokking on the San Francisco bands, not T. Rex.  We will be listening to this ‘un well into 2015.

That Kevin Morby, whom we admire, felt so strongly about Love, the new album by fellow Brooklynites Amen Dunes, to list it as Numero Uno on his top ten list made us sit up and take notice.  Cut from the same cloth as Kurt Vile and Devendra Banhart, Damon McMahon produces dreamy, droney low-fi pop that can lull and excite at the same time.  It’s a hard combination to pull off, soporific adrenaline, but on the marvelous Love, McMahon and his fellow musicians — usually acoustic guitar, a cello, little to no percussion — produce music for a cold and snowy day.  Gorgeous.

On Burn Your Fire For No Witness, Angel Olsen and a small combo alternately showcase her strikingly emotional quaver against a minimalist acoustic framework and kick the doors down.  It’s a similar dynamic to the one PJ Harvey puts to use, which we know is a hard comparison for a young artist to be saddled with, but yeah.  Angel Olsen’s antecedents are all those strong women who came down out of Appalachian hollers and caused jaws to drop in Nashville, Austin, and New York.  On this album, you have a perfectly self-contained combination of artist and musicians who mesmerize with the rhythm of their counterpoint between hard and soft, hot and cold.

Winter’s Claws

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 4, 2015 by johnbuckley100

It was cold out West.  Really cold.

Winters Claws

New Years Day And 20 Below

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 1, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Happy New Year.

Let's Stay In2

Let’s Just Stay In

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 30, 2014 by johnbuckley100

Let's Stay In

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