It was sad news indeed that two Baltimore acts, Double Dagger and Ponytail, have hung up their chaps in 2011. Both bands were up in my top ten live acts of all time (as witnessed by me - that's how these things work, right?). But two other B-more acts continue to ply their trade with excellent results.
First up we have the electro-shock artist and dance-party authority Dan Deacon, renowned as one of the world’s funnest and most epic live performers. I saw him play at London's ULU in 2009 - such an amazing show, it had all the funky white kids shuffling (they are too hip to dance). The Dr Marvin Monroe maniacal yet lovable alchemist, is equal parts crazy and inspirational, participatory and energetic, and his intense live show breaks down audience inhibitions to enable mass mayhem and fun. He has just signed onto Domino Records, and is making his way to Australia in January 2012! What's more he is bringing his ensemble - sop full band awesomeness! AND one such member is Denny from Double Dagger! Wow.
But the excellent times do not halt there, as he will be supported by one of 2011's most lauded artists in John Maus. His groundbreaking new album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves (released on one of our fave labels ever, Upset The Rhythm (as if you didn't already know!!!), distributed locally through Inertia) has been one of the iconic records of 2011. The confrontation of punk, the fleeting poignancy of 80s movie soundtracks, the insistent pulse of Moroder and the spirituality of Medieval and Baroque music all find salvation in John Maus.
The show is rounded out by locals Toy Balloon, whose sound is a collision of shambolic noise, plump dance grooves, brother / sister vocal harmonies and rigid polyrhythms. The result is a brilliant and confounding bastardisation of pop music that few people can resist. With one foot in a world occupied by new wave, cosmic disco, early hip hop and acid house, and the other foot firmly planted in the introspective, experimental indie rock world, the four piece has built a scene-busting following through their dynamic and diverse live shows. It all happens at Woodland on Thursday January 12 - grab your tickets here. AND A NEW ALBUM IS ON ITS WAY!!!
Dan Deacon - Red F
Then we have Future Islands, who also played that titular ULU show. Their new album, On The Water, is every bit as great as was hoped, and whilst they aren't known to be touring Australia soon, this album is more than enough to keep you afloat! Grab it here.
Future Islands - Give Us The Wind
Future Islands - Before The Bridge
With these two acts in business, the world is not a cold, dead place...