If there’s any band that has perfected the aural attack, it’s Sleigh Bells. Starting with their 2010 album Treats, they treated listeners with a sound that the mainstream had not experienced to that point - a mash-up of guitars turned up way past the point of distortion, hip-hop beats, and cheerleader-like vocals from Alexis Krauss. The niche they carved starting with their 2010 debut album Treats is still one that they can lay claim to, including with their most recent release, the 2017 mini-album Kid Kruschev. While it’s easier to discern Krauss’s vocals with their more recent releases, the band hasn’t lost the rage that made their debut album so irresistible and unforgettable. They turned that energetic rage into a spectacle at their sold-out show at 9:30 Club.
Every great band starts somewhere and for Radiohead, their introduction to the world was the biggest hit of their career wrapped in an album of loud, forward-thinking, guitar rock.
And for some reason their fans hate it.
We're holding court to defend this classic album and show why it's not just so much more than "Creep", it's one of the best albums of their career.
One of the most unique voices in music today, John Maus is an enigma. His recordings are willfully lo-fi, and his deep baritone voice stands out enough to be immediately recognizable. After his third album, We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, finally got him the critical and fan reception that he deserved, he essentially disappeared for six years. During that time, he completed a PhD in political science (a significant shift from his undergraduate degree in musical composition) and built modular synthesizers. In October of last year, he finally re-emerged with the release of his fourth album, Screen Memories. Saturday night brought him to a sold-out and packed Rock and Roll Hotel for his first DC live appearance since that previous record.
All it took was an off-the-cuff show back in 2014, and the trio of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O'Donovan knew they had something special. Formalizing this new union under the name I'm With Her, the three powerhouses have spent the past few years sporadically touring the group around, releasing an EP, and now they are releasing their much-anticipated debut full-length, See You Around.
Built on a foundation of tradition, intimate confessionalism, and expert musicianship, See You Around owes as much to the musician's past as it seems like a logical waypoint on their journey through song. We're going in on the supergroup's debut to find out if I'm With Her has got legs or if we're going to be seeing them around for a long time to come.
PLUS! Kim Ware's The Good Graces is back with The Hummingbird EP, and we've got it's charming AF leadoff track for you to put in your earholes!
Swedish sisters Klara and Johana Söderberg formed First Aid Kit when they were just teenagers, releasing their first EP when Johana was 17 and Klara was 15. Ten years later, the duo is still going strong, having released their fourth album Ruins in January. The record shows them maturing even further in their songwriting, and more deeply exploring the country music influences which have flavored their previous releases. Their tour for the record brought them to the Lincoln Theatre on Friday, where they performed for a sold-out audience.
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we thought it was high time to explore the dumber side of love. Throughout history, men have been writing songs about love in a quest to continually pitch their woo, but sometimes - pretty much every time - it just comes out wrong.
Join Kevin, Carrie, Marcus, and Ian as they embark on a journey into the heart of derpness and laugh their way through some of the most egregiously awkward "love" songs that missed their mark, and then some.
The catchy melodies of BORNS and Coast Modern meets the bass lines of Tame Impala
Why You Should Care:
The slinky bass line that kicks off the song should immediately hook you, but if not, maybe the lyrics will. LA-based indie-pop duo thanks. released "Your World" to the world a few months ago, a song that waxes indignant about seeing someone become a completely different person before their eyes. The song combines psychedelic synths, a catchy cadence, and of course, that bass line.
Telling a single story throughout the course of an entire album is not easy - however, the Portland-based band Typhoon has been receiving critical acclaim for doing just that on their latest album, Offerings. An album five years in the making, it was described by bandleader Kyle Morton as “a record from the perspective of a mind losing its memory at precisely the same time the world is willfully forgetting its history.” It’s not hard to see why the reviews are so positive - the storytelling is as captivating and heartbreaking as anything the band has released thus far while retaining the band's grandiose musical spirit. It’s an album that demands to be listened to in full.
In the late 70's on the Sunset Strip an, ahem, eruption of pure rock-and-roll was about to occur, and it was to be led by four dudes by the name of Eddie, Alex, David, and Michael. Van Halen didn't just bring "ass-rock" into the 80's, the guitar wizardry of Edward Van Halen revolutionized the electric guitar in every way, from how it was played, to the gear that was used to keep it dialed up to 11.
Join us as we celebrate the 40th anniversary this monster of rock with our friends Casey Rae (author, 'The Priest They Called Him: William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll') and Marcus K. Dowling (Decades, Medium). We're on a quest to find out what makes rock-n-roll tick once and for all - or at least say the word "cock" a lot.
It’s probably safe to say that many of us first fell in love with Kimbra when she was featured on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Call them kindred spirits - both of them embrace the weird side of pop music, the stuff that doesn’t make it to top 40 radio that often. It’s with that spirit that Kimbra continues to put out pop songs that draw from so many sources, her latest example being her upcoming third album Primal Heart. Featuring production from John Congleton, Nelly Furtado, and even Skrillex, the album takes the New Zealand native in different directions from the exuberant sounds of her previous two albums, this time prominently featuring R&B and mid-tempo pop.
To those who don’t know their music, a description of Wardruna might sound exceedingly esoteric. Formed in 2003 by Einar Selvik, former drummer for black metal legends Gorogorth, Wardruna explores the cultural and musical traditions of their native Norway through traditional Nordic instruments and poetic forms. The result is a dark folk music that evokes the cold northern countryside, and a world that has been long lost to modernity. Despite this rather particular sound, they’ve found a significant audience. It is likely that many in the band’s US fans learned of them through appearances on the soundtrack to the History Channel’s ongoing Vikings drama series, in which Selvik has also appeared as an actor. Whatever the reason, the band has long fielded requests to come here, and this month they finally embarked on their first North American tour, which sold out on most of its dates far in advance. The first of these took place here in the DC area at the Fillmore in Silver Spring.
Washington, DC's The North Country has changed a lot in its seven years of making music. One thing that has remained consistent is front-man Andrew Grossman's commitment to creating electric and innovative pop and folk music pushes artistic boundaries as much as it honors them.
On our latest episode, we're sitting down with Grossman to talk about the past and future of the band, what it takes to stay dedicated to making art in the nation's capital, Sean Barna, their new Ardor EP, and much, much more.
San Francisco noise rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, which they began with the release of their eighth studio album, Wrong Creatures. The trio of founding members Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes, who co-front the band, and drummer Leah Shapiro (who joined in 2008 after the departure of original drummer Nick Jago) may have been at it for two decades now, but they’ve never compromised on their distinctive sound – or on their lengthy, intense shows. Monday night at the 9:30 Club was no exception, with the band doing a two-and-a-half-hour-long strobe light- and fog machine-fueled set.
Before they were country music's most "controversial" superstars, the Dixie Chicks ruled the charts with their savvy mix of bluegrass, country, and pop. On our latest episode, we're digging into the trios finest hour and the record that jump-started their career, 1998's iconic Wide Open Spaces.
What was the legacy of this monster crossover hit on not just country music, but pop and rock? Why has endured as not only a classic, but a standard-bearer for excellence? Eduardo, Marcus, and Kevin are asking these questions and more as we dive deep into one of the biggest albums in country music history.
A modern pop homage to Queen that breaks away from the modern pop message
Why You Should Care:
Let's get it out of the way - yes, Jukebox the Ghost has never sound Queen-ier than on "Everybody's Lonely." Not surprising for a group that has been holding "Halloqueen" cover shows for the last three years? But Jukebox the Ghost deserves more credit than that - for ten years, they've been crafting reliably catchy piano-pop songs that everyone may have heard on a TV commercial or at an H&M at some point. But there aren't many radio-friendly piano-pop bands with a voice as soaring as Ben Thornewill's.
The vulgarity of the year 2017, sweetened by ballet.
Why You Should Care:
Amanda Palmer began her career as an eclectic street artist, going from living statue to a punk pianist in the Dresden Dolls, to best-selling author. She is a vocal proponent of crowdfunding and other communal approaches to art, and never shy of controversy. With this video adaptation of a Pink Floyd classic, she outdoes herself (and unhinges our jaws) once again. “Mother” is not necessarily Palmer’s most shocking creation. She has a history of exploring darker themes (drugs, depression, death) with her share of blood, nudity, and profanity. But with “Mother” she reaches a new height of authenticity, merging her experience of motherhood (she and author Neil Gaiman had their first child in 2015) with the current American political and sociological climate.
Palmer has recast Roger Waters’ 38-year-old lyrics to address the literal and figurative “walls” of today and celebrate the role of motherhood in tearing them down. In hushed, motherly tones, backed by Jherek Bischoff’s fervid string arrangements, she frames the lyrics as a conversation between the President and his own deceased mother. Palmer and Bischoff are joined by dancers and instrumentalists, both adult and children, who seem to intentionally share a common life-giving, nurturing spirit.
The video and ballet end with Palmer breastfeeding a Trump-like character…you might just have to watch it to understand. Palmer dedicated this composition to the current administration, saying, “You will not build walls in our children’s hearts.” “Mother” holds its own as a protest song, but as a visual masterpiece, it may be Palmer’s most important work thus far, from one of the 21st century’s premier artist-activists.
Known to most of the world as a political playground, Washington, D.C. is a city where decisions that shape the course of, not just American, but HUMAN history, are made every day. More than that though, D.C. is a city where cultures collide resulting in a creative class that produces some of the most compelling and diverse art in the world. Built on the legacy of jazz and go-go, D.C. is on the cusp of a creative explosion and bringing everything from hip-hop to indie rock into the fold.
On our latest podcast, we're kicking off a twelve-part series exploring the sounds of our home, where they come from, and where they may be going. Joining us for this inaugural installment of Sounds Of Washington, D.C. are Hometown Sounds host Paul Vodra, and Philip Basnight, one-half of D.C. folk-pop powerhouses Broke Royals.
YACHT has always been one to poke fun at society in some way. In 2010, they published a book called The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights: A Handbook on Overcoming Humanity and Becoming Your Own God. With their previous album, I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, they only allowed the video for “L.A. Plays Itself” to be viewed when Uber prices were surging in their hometown of Los Angeles. More controversially, they ‘announced’ a leaked sex tape that eventually turned out to just be a music video for “I Wanna Fuck You Til I’m Dead.” (To be clear, there was no human nudity - but a whole lot of strange, slimy alien skin was present.) Their latest EP Strawberry Moon again prods at society with their music (one questioning why we eat animals) and videos (satirizing lifestyle brands and those that love to Instagram their meals), but it’s the live experience where YACHT really shines.
Legendary drummer and bandleader Chris Dave has made a career out of playing with the best of the best. Featured on tracks by artists as diverse as D'Angelo, Justin Bieber, Adele, and Dolly Parton, Dave is a musical omnivore of the highest order. On his debut album with the Drumhedz, he's throwing everything into the mix (including the kitchen sink) to craft a potent stew of funk, jazz, pop, rock, soul, r&b and, of course, hip-hop, that educates, stimulates, and vibrates with life from start to finish. Featuring guest shots from Anderson .Paak, Bilal, Goapele, Phonte and more, Chris Dave and the Drumhedz is more than a showcase; it's an education. Join Kevin, Ian, and the mighty Marcus J. Moore (Senior Editor, Bandcamp) as they dig into this delicious treat for newcomers and music nerds alike.
PLUS: 16-year-old DC native MILES ave makes potent, politically charged, and, most importantly, honest hip-hop, and we're giving you a taste of his latest work, "The Debt."
One of the summer highlights in the DC area is the National Symphony Orchestra's live scoring of movies like Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings. No matter what movie is playing behind them, the NSO is sure to faithfully recreate the music that made the movie so memorable. But for those with more adventurous tastes, College Park, MD-based label VoidLife Records has another take on live scoring. Three groups, all comprised of musicians from the DC area, were tasked with creating their own live score for three different cult favorites: Doctor Who, The Twilight Zone, and Twin Peaks. There were no faithful adaptations here: the results were as far out as the musicians' own output.