Before describing the evening, it’s important to understand Paradise Fears and their incredibly dedicated fans. Beginning back in high school in Vermillion, South Dakota, lead singer and writer Sam Miller and his friends Cole Andre, Jordan Merrigan, Marcus Sand, Michael Walker, and Lucas Zimmerman released two EPs before taking a gap year to work in order to fund their first full length LP. This album, 2011’s Yours Truly, sold 24,000 records, peaking at number 9 on Billboard’s “Uncharted” chart. After gaining traction opening for All Time Low and The Cab in 2011, they began releasing covers on YouTube, launching them to further acclaim with videos amassing millions of views. When asked what makes fans of Paradise Fears love them so much (enough to wait outside on a frigid New York evening for hours, which I’ll get to), so many said “relatability”. The lyrics and moods captured in the sounds of Paradise Fears accurately portray the, well, fears really, that we all face at one time or another. The music is incredibly personal, a fact which Sam alluded to myriad times throughout the evening.
If you cross the beltway for anything, make it for San Fermin at the Barns at Wolf Trap this Friday. Sure, it’s at the end of the orange line in Vienna, Virginia and maybe you have to take a second form of transportation to get from the metro to the theater, but this band is worth it. The brainchild of Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin is a 22-piece ensemble made up of classically trained musicians playing a mix of chamber pop and classical music. While their touring band is made up of a smaller core of musicians, there is no shortage of instruments nor bold instrumentalists on stage. Continue reading “Shows to Know: San Fermin @ the Barns at Wolf Trap – 1/30”
As YG’s DJ took the stage and began spinning tracks to pump up the crowd, you could sense the excitement in the air. Coming off a year of much acclaim, the Los Angeles rapper descended onto Silver Spring to perform some of his biggest hits – and that’s exactly what he did. Wearing his signature red “Bompton” fitted cap, and riding a modified BMX bike, YG entertained the crowd with his brash style and heavily synthesized beats harkening to the heyday of E-40 and Too $hort. Continue reading “BestCoast Connection Tour Review – by Max Blackman”
It’s January 5th and we here at the WRGW Music Department are just a little bit sick of the cyclical year-end lists penned by **in-touch** music writers and tastemakers who continually peddle the same albums over and over again, with more regard for controversy (Mark Kozelek shout out) than actual substance. Let’s face it – music journalism kinda sucks. The top blogs and sites are essentially celebrity gossip forums, with occasional big words and nice pictures thrown in. The promotions companies are no better, as the wealthier bands get press and talented, hardworking ones are left in the dust. Still, rant aside, 2014 was a damn fine year in music. The mega releases of 2013 slowed down enough to allow break out artists, like Ex Hex, Ty Segall, Angel Olsen (the list goes on) to break into new territory and release exceptional, career-defining albums. The future is ripe, and there has never been a better time to be a music fan with a pair of headphones and an internet connection.
Instead of laying out the “best” albums of last year, our three assistant music directors, our music promotions director and I share below the top three artists/bands that we’re genuinely excited about in 2015. This is by no means an objective or comprehensive list; those things do not exist in music journalism. Read, listen, and watch before they get drowned out by the next Kanye single, or another War on Drugs album. Regular blog content and programming will continue starting the week of January 19th – until then, indulge our egos and maybe find your next favorite band.
D.C dream pop trio The Walking Sticks (composed of Chelsea Lee and brothers Spencer and Max Ernst) are coming off the excitement of having released their album Send The Night in December of last year, and are now ready to drop a new five track EP. The band has been finding great success within The District’s music scene, having just played the 9:30 Club two weeks ago, and Black Cat previous to that. Now, amid a schedule of festival and club dates, The Walking Sticks are planning a pre-release show on September 27 at DC9, complete with a live music video shoot for their new song “One Sweet Thing”. WRGW catches up with them outside of The Library of Congress, where they are taking a break in between sets of a private gig.