US Royalty, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Willy Mason, Silent Old Mountains
1811 14th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20009
This event is all ages
Rubblebucket has spent the last five years building a reputation as a band that blurs lines. The Brooklyn, NY by way of Boston and Vermont seven-piece has evolved into something that is "utterly post-genre—horns, synth, guitars, harmonies—a smile-inducing point on the tangent that connects Björk and Broken Social Scene", which is to say that you never know what you'll see or hear next.
Over the past year the band has taken a break of sorts (the only way Rubblebucket knows how), playing only a few festivals and one-off appearances, while writing and recording new material that will come in the form of a new EP, that also serves as a teaser to an album to come in 2014.
Titled Save Charlie, the EP will be released September 24, 2013 via Communion Records worldwide (Daughter, Caveman, Willy Mason). Tracked in Brooklyn's Trout Studios, the band co-produced the EP with Tom Biller (Liars, Warpaint, Kate Nash), while mastering duties were given to Dave Cooley (M83, Silversun Pickups).
2012 was a banner year for Rubblebucket, seeing the outfit grace the stages of Bonnaroo among countless other festivals, collaborated with heroes tUnE-yArDs and Questlove for a Fela Kuti compilation and made their late night TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Finally the non-stop touring group brought their raucous live show, along with their handmade giant robot puppets and love-tunnels, to larger and larger crowds across the US and received love and affection from Paste, Rolling Stone, Stereogum, Wall Street Journal, SPIN and so many more. It wasn't until the fall that the band released the self-released Oversaturated EP, which took Brooklyn's freshest seven piece to a new level; between Kalmia Traver's unmistakable voice and the band's hip shaking, off-kilter arrangements, the EP highlights everything that makes Rubblebucket so special.
It was in 2011 however that Rubblebucket marked its first milestone with their proper debut LP, Omega La La. Recorded at Plantain/DFA Studios with Producer Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem, Cut Copy, Hercules and Love Affair) at the helm, the record was their most ambitious conquest yet, with the band dipping into everything from dancey indie-pop arrangements to Fela-Kuti inspired afro-beat stomps. The record has earned a wealth of praise, with Stereogum hailing the record's "tricky arrangements, whistle solos, and disco guitar leads" and Paste Magazine calling the album "instrumentally rich but catchy enough to ass-kick Katy Perry off the pop charts (in a just world)—mega-melodic without sacrificing an ounce of atmosphere or creativity."
From the bluesy swagger of the album opener "Hollywood Hollows" to the soaring, Washington Irving inspired anthem "Equestrian," it is evident that MIRRORS, the debut full length from U.S. Royalty, is an album of grand scope and range. It is a document of exploration and discovery. Songs kindle a spectrum of locales as the band laces a thread of longing and movement throughout the entire album to create a cinematic experience. MIRRORS is a cohesive and unified collection.
"With this record we wanted to present a body of work, a complete thought," says singer John Thornley. To achieve this, the band wrote and rewrote songs for a year, demoing and dissecting while on the road and at home. John continues, "Because we traveled for about a year and a half before we recorded the album, there is definitely a travel vibe to the record "
In March 2010, the band teamed up with engineer Gus Oberg (The Strokes, Albert Hammond Jr., Bloc Party) and Justin Long to begin recording the album. While in the studio, as a vision of the album began to come into focus, old songs were dropped in favor of new songs being written. The band recently released the first single off the album, "Equestrian," and set a release date for the debut album, January 25th 2011.
Shared experiences, traveling and playing together, informed the writing process as did a steady intake of Kubrick, Godard, McCarthy, and Spaghetti Westerns. The sun-bleached Ennio Morricone soundtracks factored heavily into the scope and range of MIRRORS as the band channeled the sense of epic drama his most memorable pieces evoke – those timeless studies in tension and release.
U.S. Royalty formed in 2008 in Washington, D.C. Built around the lifelong musical collaboration of brothers John and Paul Thornley, vocals/piano and guitar, respectively, and rounded out by Jacob Michael (bass), and Luke Adams (drums), the group has refined and expanded their collective vision since their earliest practices spent shivering around a single heater while ensconced in an abandoned trailer in rural Maryland. While the band had a collection of demos recorded mainly to book gigs they were approached by Brooklyn-based Engine Room Recordings to release a selection of the songs on a 7-inch entitled Midsommar. They have made appearances at SXSW, NXNE, Art Basel and CMJ. They have been featured in Esquire, SPIN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and highlighted on NPR. Their work with Gant Rugger has garnered them attention in the fashion world and created unexpected bridges in the blogosphere, their music has accompanied various web-based promotional films for the label, and the band members will be featured in the Swedish line's upcoming 2011 Spring Collection.
With the release of their debut album, U.S. Royalty delivers on capturing the volatility and explosiveness that define their live performances. While taking cues from the players of old, they treat performances as feverish outpourings of rock 'n roll energy and emotion. For them, there is no reason not to leave it all on the stage every night as a testimony to the music that moves them. U.S. Royalty aims for the grand and the timeless but insists on the raw and the unplanned as they forge their own way in the current musical landscape.
At 24, Willy Mason already sounds like a withered man. Accompanied by a musical-saw player and members of his family on stage. Mason has recorded for the label owned by indie-rock icon Conor Oberst - Team Love. It's a perfect fit, given that his songs recall the downer jams of Neil Young and Bright Eyes. Growing up on the folk music of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, Mason writes music with hints of both, but he modernizes it with elements of '90s rock.
Silent Old Mountains
Silent Old Mtns. began in the Spring of 2011, when a one-off concert snowballed into the full time regional act that they are today. Their blend of Indie Rock, Folk, and Poetry create a style all their own that has earned them a quick and loyal following.