Ace Elijah – The Lonely Nights Are All That’s Left

•October 12, 2010 • 1 Comment

There’s nothing more satisfying than watching an artist develop out of the artist development hell that can be “open mike night.” Ace Elijah paid his dues crooning his unique brand of gentle, jazz-inflected pop to many a deaf ear in saloons around Annapolis and now that he’s old enough to legally imbibe himself, those beer-soaked gigs are beginning to pay dividends.

This is an elegant record that, while owing much to the traditional pop of Tin Pan Alley, establishes Elijah’s authenticity. His vocals have been described as “intimate” and considering his classic pop phrasing, that’s as good a description as any. Self-assured and plaintive, these songs take their own time in revealing themselves and owe much to Elijah’s old-style recording approach where he performs live in the studio with little or no overdubs. Mickey Basil’s beautiful piano accompaniment adds another layer of warmth to a record that sounds as much crafted as performed.

Check out  “This Is My Home For Now,” a traveling song vaguely reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian.

MP3: This Is My Home For Now

For a limited time, you can download the entire record for FREE.

Check out his live performance at Mill Creek Studio.

All other things Ace Elijah at his website and MySpace.

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Joseph Karr – Violon D’Ingres

•September 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Underground Wednesday is proud to announce the release of “Violon D’Ingres,” a new EP from Joseph Karr that marks his first music release in nearly a decade. He’s been described here as “an accidental musician of the eeriest sort,” “ the dark prince of Annapolis,” and “a goddamn genius,” and this EP affirms our belief that he’s an artist that warrants national attention.

Tastefully accentuated and beautifully expressed, it’s evocative music from an artist whose talent has always tantalized but is now marked with the maturity of a fully-formed artist.

Please join us at a combination CD release and art show this Thursday, September 16th at 9:00 pm at Tsunami, 51 West Street,  in Annapolis. Joe’s art will be on display and DJ Dan will be spinning selections from Annapolis musicians from 10:00 into the wee hours.

This hand stamped, limited edition EP features:

1.       Castle

Previously featured on Underground Wednesday, it positively shimmers.

2.       What Comes Naturally

Tasty electronic touches add an element of light to this affecting, slightly dark song.

3.       Rush Concert T-Shirt

“She can skate backwards in a straight line” is our favorite lyric of the year.

4.       For The Best

Written on the first day of the year, it makes you want to lie on your car and watch the stars with your best girl. Just beautiful.

5.       Doublemint

Candy apple red pop.

Physical copies will be available at this show only with a full digital release in October. For all things, Joe Karr, visit his website.

Tobias Russell – Flesh.Bones.Teeth.Words

•September 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Tobias Russell appears to be a contradiction of terms. A dreadlocked twenty-something that considers Paul Simon as his biggest influence? An MC that doesn’t curse? But it’s this dichotomy that makes his musical approach so intriguing. “Flesh.Bones.Teeth.Words” is the first full-length from this Annapolis native and it’s as rooted in folk as it is in hip hop. Russell says he’s unafraid to drastically change styles from song to song and while he holds true to those words, it’s not at the expense of cohesiveness.

A prolific songwriter, he had a multitude of songs to choose from for his debut but he told Underground Wednesday that he found common lyrical ground in the songs that worked their way onto the record – regardless of whether he was singing or rapping. It’s hip hop that’s refreshingly free of misogyny and braggadocio. It’s rock with an ear for hooks and a way with words. And it’s folk that’s introspective without being self-absorbed.

Not hurting matters is the stellar production, subtle guitar work and backing vocals by Annapolis musician Casey Hean (of local bands Ethics Committee, newstravelsfast, and the forthcoming Diving Horses.) From the ebullient pop of first single “I Woke Up” to the soul-inflected hip hop of “This Ain’t Music” (featuring former Jepetto and Victory Party MC Dave Richardson), it’s a promising debut that’s only accentuated by his passionate live performances.  He might not use profanity in his music, but we’re going to go ahead and call Tobias Russell a badass anyway.

Tobias Russell – I Woke Up (now available on iTunes)

Tobias Russell – This Ain’t Music

Lead single now available on iTunes. Full album available in October 2010.

Check out his live performance at Mill Creek Studio featuring a couple of songs not found on the record.

All things Tobias Russell at his website and MySpace.

The Names – First Record

•May 27, 2010 • 2 Comments

What kind of 21-year old kid likes early Kinks, T. Rex and Stax Records? Apparently, the 21-year old kids in the Names, that’s who. They wear suits? They don’t rhyme words with female body parts? They sing harmonies? Exactly what in the hell is going on here?

As if the Beatles-esque album art isn’t enough of a clue, the Names’ avowed love of vintage rock and soul is made even more clear right from the opening countoff of lead track “Mama Don’t Like You.”  It hurtles us straight back to a world where Rod Stewart was still cool. On the Stonesy “Moving On,” guitarist Kit Whitacre convincingly channels Keith Richards. We feel like screaming “Hey Otis!” during “Pootlehead.” “Babaloo Baby” resurrects Marc Bolan in all his T. Rex glory. And the sweet ballad “Oh Baby Yeah” harkens Richie Valens’ “Oh Donna” in all the right ways. Even better is live favorite “Cadillac (The Way She Goes), a three-minute gem featuring vocals and harmonies from bassist Harrison Cofer and drummer Matt Rose. There’s even a hidden track – and we love hidden tracks.

But this magical mystery tour never veers into Austin Powers hipster parody – it’s just straight-up rock and roll done right by four kids with all the right influences on their sleeves. What also doesn’t hurt is the fine production work from legendary L.A. soundman Gary Hirstius (who counts Don Was as a client and has recorded everyone who’s anyone from the heydays of classic rock through the birth of punk) and Annapolitan Charlie Evans.

The eight original songs written by the band and two tasty covers ( Hank Snow’s aforementioned “Moving On” and Ray Charles’ “Sticks And Stones”) leave little doubt that they’re a band capable of garnering national attention. In fact, with their straight-out-of-1964 aesthetic, the Names are the best young rock and roll band to come out of Annapolis in some time. Welcome, Harrison, Matt, Kit and Sam. We’ve been waiting for you.

The Names – Cadillac (The Way She Goes)

The Names – Oh Baby Yeah

Check out more Names music at

KAHZ – I Play The Fox

•March 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Mark our words, Chris Cosgrove is going to be an indie rock star. Beginning with the legendary Annapolis hip hop and funk collective Jepetto and continuing in the excellent local band Victory Party (along with former Jepetto MC Dave Richardson), Cosgrove has long been one of our area’s most charismatic and entertaining performers. But 11 years after bursting onto the scene with Jepetto straight outta high school, he’s poised to break it large with his long awaited solo debut. Cosgrove has toured the world the last five years as a guitar tech and road manager for a number of high-profile acts (including a stint as a supporting musician for the indie duo Mates Of State) and after first settling in San Francisco before landing in Philadelphia, he’s honed his skills to a sheen. Recording under the name “KAHZ”, he’s emerged as a multi-instrumentalist equally adept at guitar, bass, piano and trumpet, playing every note of his solo material himself. Always a watchable performer, he’s grown into a first-rate songwriter, arranger, beatmaker and singer with a fabulous ear for hooks that are both smart and catchy.

Like most great songs, “Hey Surprise” began almost accidentally. Written on Christmas Eve at his parents house (you can even hear a little of his dad yelling for him early in the song) and using iPhone ear buds to record the acoustic guitar, it was a song that he says he never meant anyone to hear. He changed his mind after some friends pushed him to finish it and we’re glad they did. It will be featured on his upcoming debut “I Play The Fox” available later this spring, but exclusively on Underground Wednesday NOW.

MP3: KAHZ – Hey Surprise

“makin’ papes” is a nice showcase for KAHZ’s range. It’s a dance floor burner that features the best damn cowbells since the Rapture. When pressed for the song’s meaning, Cosgrove says, “It’s about MAKIN’ THOSE PAPES!”

MP3: KAHZ – $ makin papes $

For old time’s sake, here are a few sweet Victory Party songs. Oh, the trumpet!

MP3: Victory Party – The World I Know

MP3: Victory Party – The Man Inside

Check out more new stuff up on the KAHZ MySpace page.

Irresistible Smell Of Decay – Sharks And Knives

•February 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We’ve already lauded the songwriting prowess of Jimi Davies, but in addition to leading two of our area’s best bands (Jimmies Chicken Shack and Jarflys), he’s also been at work on a solo project he calls the Irresistible Smell Of Decay. He gleaned the name from the annual migration of salmon who make their way upstream only to spawn, then die – drawn by “the irresistible smell of decay.” He describes the recording process in a similar way as “1 guy, in 1 room, with 1 computer, a few guitars, shedding skin for feeding.” And shed his musical skin he does. Maybe it’s because the first time we heard these song we were driving down a leaf-strewn street in downtown Annapolis on a blustery, fall night, but they’ve always conjured up ghosts for us. Both spooky and haunting and only available here at Underground Wednesday.

“Sharks And Knives” features the backup singing debut of the artist formerly known as Karen Schultz, now better known as Mrs. Davies.

MP3: Irresistible Smell Of Decay – Sharks And Knives

Here’s a nice example of Davies’ way with words and their double meanings.

MP3: Irresistible Smell Of Decay – You And I Know Different

More ISOD stuff on MySpace.

Dean Rosenthal – Stepney Lane

•January 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – Dean Rosenthal is a national treasure waiting to be discovered outside of Maryland. As influenced by Muddy as he is Dylan, Dean’s a walking encyclopedia of musical pioneers and he simply embodies American roots music. He’s busy working at Noel White’s Mill Creek Studio on his first studio album in several years and has been kind enough to leak a track to Underground Wednesday.  The record, to be released in the coming months, features a travelogue of sorts through southern Anne Arundel County, where Dean hails from and still calls home. If “Stepney Lane” is any indication of this South County tour, we’re in for a treat.

Dean Rosenthal – Stepney Lane