On Tap takes a look at four local and touring bands each month. If you are interested in being featured, please send your CD along with contact information, including your website and a list of upcoming shows, to On Tap Magazine. Attention Four Play: 25 Dove St. Alexandria, VA 22314.
By Marcus Dowling and Michael Coleman
Show: Saturday, February 18th at Jammin’ Java (CD Release)
In an era where power chords have been replaced with minor key-driven meanderings in the pop-rock atmosphere, DC-area quartet Since Antarctica’s debut EP, Aurorae, delivers a potent remembrance of things past. The band succeeds at presenting rock defined by the classic expectation of fuzzy melodies encased in a stentorian blare. Drummer Chip Burden is skilled at both thunderous intonations and a more bluesy, finesse-driven style, while lead singer Shannon Woods is blessed with a powerhouse instrument. The songwriting on two tracks in particular, “Your Delilah,” and “Beautiful Agony,” are both intense and poignant, receiving the immense emotional release they desire when articulated by Woods. Guitarist Walt Rieker and singular-named bassist Franzie complement the outfit with perfection, analog power excelling in the digital age. – MD
Jammin’ Java: 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA; 703-255-1566; www.jamminjava.com.
ALBUM: Lethal Peanut
Show: Friday, March 2 at RFD
Potent, bluesy grooves dominate on DC quintet Lethal Peanut’s debut album. In nine diverse yet populist tracks, the band showcases a unique style. Extreme sonic cohesion is the name of the game, solid songwriting is propelled to the level of inherently ear-worming or (in many cases) toe-tapping content. Jeff Sherman (guitar), Bruce Tsai (bass, violin), and Steve Meredith (drums) are a sonic tour de force, providing incredibly vibrant and engaging rhythms for lead singer Nick Fetzer’s vocals. Dipping into everything, from alternative rock, to folksy soul and straightforward bluegrass to the deepest of blues grooves, Lethal Peanut provides a distinctive flair without straying too far into a sound unfamiliar to pop audiences. – MD
RFD: 810 7th St. NW, DC; 202-289-2030; www.lovethebeer.com.
ALBUM: Fort Lean
Show: Saturday, February 4 at the Gibson Guitars Showroom
Every once in a while a band comes along that is obviously destined for success – however you gauge success in today’s music business. Brooklyn-based Fort Lean is such a band. Already generating buzz in such disparate places as the New York Times and the Stereogum music blog, Fort Lean is a band to watch, and their new four-song EP is tight. Lead track “Beach Holiday” showcases Fort Lean’s upbeat, jangly guitars and frontman Keenan Mitchell’s urgent, powerful singing. It’s a hook-laden, perfectly titled slice of power pop. “Dreams” is an atmospheric take on a song that sounds like it was resurrected from a bin of 60’s soul records. The third track “High Definition” slows things down a bit, but the fuzzed out guitars and irresistible melodies continue to captivate the listener as the song builds to a more frenzied pitch. The EP closes with “Perfect,” a fuzzed-out burner that nevertheless keeps the hooks coming. This is a fun, accomplished effort from a band that’s going places. – MC
Gibson Guitars Showroom: 709 G St. NW, DC; 202-393-1006; www.facebook.com/gibson202
ALBUM: Lead Balloon
Show: Sunday, February 12 at Jammin’ Java
Rosi Golan didn’t pick up a guitar for the first time until shortly after 9/11, at the age of 19. But she’s made up for lost time. The Israeli-born singer-songwriter’s sophomore album, Lead Balloon, is an accomplished work that is likely to lead the already buzzed-about singer to even higher, loftier places. The album’s lead track, “Paper Tiger,” is a derisive yet pretty-to-listen-to look at a love interest who is all flash and no substance. “You’ve got the loudest bark but you’ve got no bite, it’s a funny sight to see,” Golan croons. “Like a paper tiger hanging on a string, darlin’ you don’t bother me.” Golan hits her stride on “Flicker,” a plaintive, beautiful ballad about living life too fast and paying the price. Interestingly, the title track was the least appealing. Wordy and slow, the tune drags compared to the rest of the record. But throughout this eminently listenable outing – and even on the title track—Golan’s voice shines. It’s warm and supple, and capable of conveying plenty of emotion. The organic instrumentation and clean production lend the songs an immediacy and intimacy that is rare for a musician of such limited experience. This is a strong second effort from a singer-songwriter with immense promise. – MC
Jammin’ Java: 227 Maple Ave. Vienna, VA; 703-255-1566; www.jamminjava.com.