May 9th is going to be awesome. Yes, it is in the middle of finals week and most of us will be itching to be done with school or already gearing towards the summer. So, of course, the best way to scratch that antsy itch is to get out into the city. It just so happens that on that Wednesday night, Ingrid Michaelson will be performing at DC’s own 9:30 Club.
On January 24th Michaelson released her new album Human Again, which features the single “Ghost” released back in November of 2011. Listening to the slew of thirteen songs and two bonus tracks, the album has a distinctly darker and vindictive tone than previous ones, especially compared to the bubbly singles played on the radio or as we pass by the Gap. Even Michaelson, with an air of pride, claims that the sound is louder and quite the departure from the “cute” reputation expected. The opening song on the album, “Fire” is a song you could find yourself running sprints to, maybe even throwing punches to (at an appropriate punching bag, of course), and certainly the song sets the tone for the entire album with other dramatic and, dare I say, angry songs throughout. You can catch a small glimpse of that pop-ish essence of Michaelson’s previous work in “Blood Brothers,” with its upbeat sound and humanitarian message that “we are all blood brothers,” but it nonetheless maintains a more mature sound. Me personally? I am totally digging her grittiness. It’s different, it’s curious, and she’s touring with it!
Amongst innumerable exciting tidbits of music news in 2012 (Black Keys & Arctic Monkeys tour, the rise of Gotye, Radiohead headlining Coachella), Season 2 of IFC’s hit comedy series Portlandia shan’t be ignored, though it’s not exactly music-specific. The show pokes fun at the idiosyncrasies of Portland, Oregan, where “young people go to retire.” The comedy sketches target everything from organic farming to cyclists to feminist bookstores and often include hilarious cameos (Steve Buscemi, Aubrey Plaza, and Sarah McLachlan, to name a few). One of the show’s stars, Fred Armisen, was already famed for his spot-on Obama impersonation and other hilarities on SNL. But what many fans may not realize is that Armisen started performing as the drummer in Trenchmouth, a Chicago-based post-hardcore band that gained some minor attention in the 90s. He met his female counterpart, Carrie Brownstein, former guitarist in Portland’s own Sleater-Kinney and now playing in Wild Flag, through mutual friends. Armisen told Washington City Paper that the two hit it off immediately and started making videos “that would make us laugh. After a while we had a bunch and put them online. Soon we had quite a few and we decided to pitch it as a TV show.” And, thus Portlandia was born.
If you’re like me, you and your wallet may be overwhelmed with the number of astounding concerts happening this spring in DC. But with the amount of amazing rising talent coming to the district to perform live, how can you not go? I sat down with an extensive concert list, and asked myself, which shows are worth going to?
I’ve been waiting for this album for so long, and I hadn’t heard of this band until today. It’s the kind of album that, on first listen, you think to yourself, “how can something be so familiar if I’ve never heard it before?” Or maybe I’m just weird. (sidenote – when I first read about this band, I was really angry that someone had the nerve to pluralize the name of one of the greatest emo bands of the 90’s. but honestly, this is so much better. my apologies to any muscular bearded guys in flannels reading this)