Artist of the Month

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July 2015
Ecstatic Vision
"Sonic Praise
Heavy-psych three-piece Ecstatic Vision conjures cosmic soundscapes with their debut LP Sonic Praise (Relapse Records). Self-ordained as “primal,” the group’s orchestration is undeniably gripping and visceral, altering the embodied state of its listener at an instant. Pressing past the tropes of genre, Sonic Praise is a hypnotic example of the outfit’s versatility. The release of Ecstatic Vision’s tripped-out LP is hopefully the first of many.
Beginning with the well-titled “Journey,” Sonic Praise’s opening track unfolds like a swirling chant that gradually builds to bawdy, passionate dirge filled with buzzing riffs and drums. The song’s lyricism is straightforward yet amplified by the unrelenting progression of its instrumentation. The declaration of “Journey” is unapologetic. It’s not a conversation; it’s an invitation. At its climax, the resonance of the recording brings to mind similarly transcendent tracks like Moon Duo’s “Free The Skull” or Ty Segall’s “I Wear Black.”
“Astral Plane” is a tentative tip of the hat to the iconic Sun Ra’s masterpiece Space Is the Place, unfolding with driving riffs and drumbeats that elicit the sensation of being transported into the ether. By the two-minute mark, “Astral Plane” is in full swing, impressive guitar work resounding as the track’s earlier established foundation persists. Each component of the song’s structure expands as frontman Doug Sabolick’s vocals urge listeners to “Look in the mirror and tell yourself/this is the place to be.” Undoubtedly indicative of the cosmos (metaphorically or literally), “Astral Plane” is trancelike, with its instrumentation possessing the power to cast a psychedelic spell that lingers well past the song’s end. Nearly thirty seconds shy of thirteen minutes of length, the temporal duration of the recording is as well warranted as it is executed. “Don’t Kill The Vibe” is equally shamanistic, with riffage that feels psychotropic. The LP’s title track, “Sonic Praise,” begins with primeval distortion comprised of oscillating tempos and forlorn chants. The effect of its prelude is mesmerizing, dark, and strangely beautiful. Thematically cult like, “Sonic Praise” is satisfyingly otherworldly, seducing its listener to give in to Ecstatic Vision’s melodic ethos without hesitation. 
Sonic Praise’s final anthem “Cross the Divide” extends the mysticism of the album’s narrative, ending Ecstatic Vision’s debut on a plane similar to where it began - one of enlightenment and pure rock 'n' roll. - Dianca London Potts



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The Seeers open for Loud Boyz record party at DC9 Nightclub, 8/1

 This Saturday, they’re driving all the way from Norfolk, VA, to open for the Loud Boyz release party for their new LP. They’re called The Seeers and they have something for everyone who likes rocking out. Grinding out tasty guitar progressions and understated vocals never sounded so great. Inspiring headbanging, crowdsurfing, and casual swaying all at once, these guys have great crossover appeal in their repertoire, from garage grit to mellow indie vibes. Switching from emulating The Who to a punky REM, The Seeers will be a perfect opener for the party at DC9 on 8/1. Doors at 9, $10. -Jonathan Goodwin


Baltimore jamtronica team Operation Dankstar releases new album '‪#‎Friendshipisthebestship'

Emerging in 2011 and sporting both stylish remixes and catchy originals, Operation Dankstar is dropping its newest album #Friendshipisthebestship this Friday, 7/24. The act comprises Michael Klicos and Corey King and the pair fully embrace their self-acknowleged genre of galactic disco, creating sounds running a veritable gamut of possibility. Playing with jazzy brass pieces, bass-laden dance beats, and crooning voice work, the tracks from the new album impress and surprise in tandem, making for a great release. –Jonathan Goodwin 



DC noise punks Puff Pieces headline show at Union Arts, 8/12

Though they coalesced in an unlikely way, the three-piece Puff Pieces has become quite a fixture in the DC noise and punk scenes, jamming their unusual lyrics and distortion straight to the joy centers of their fans’ brains. Rocking out together only for the last two years, their sound is crisp and coordinated and will certainly provide new listeners with an awesome live experience. You can catch them pursuing their energetically counterculture tack as the headliners at Union Arts on 8/12.


DC's soulful songwriter Sara Curtin releases her new album 7/24, plays the DC Rock & Roll Hotel, 8/6

With a voice like a siren, Sara Curtin’s songs draw in the listener like flies to the honey of her slow rhythms and alluring voice. The DC-based indie songstress releases her latest album “Michigan Lilium” on 7/24, building on her haunting and soulful repertoire with the new single Summer. Curtin’s vocals give away her classical training and the instrumental accompaniment is duly inspired, framing the lyrics beautifully. Catch Curtin perform at the DC Rock & Roll Hotel at 8pm, 8/6, as well as other great Washington acts, The North Country and Stranger in the Alps. -Jonathan Goodwin




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