Seven people on stage can be a recipe for chaos, but Balún have a method to the madness. The band, originally from Puerto Rico and now based in New York City, melds dream pop, IDM, and the Latin sounds of dembow (a musical rhythm very popular in reggaeton music) to create an exciting addition to the Latinx musical canon, a sound they call "dreambow."
Hot off a tour with Appalachian vocal trio Mountain Man (including a stop at this years Newport Folk Festival), Alexandra Sauser-Monnig didn’t waste any time hitting the road again, but this time in support of debut album as Daughter of Swords.
For their 10th annual festival, Living Classrooms married some highlights of the local music and food scene with sound great nationally-touring acts like Dustbowl Revival and The Ballroom Thieves.
Sego balances the dance-punk energy of The Rapture and !!! with the weird rock inclinations of Mellow Gold-era Beck to create an excitingly electric show.
Last June, Toronto musician MorMor (aka Seth Nyquist) released his debut EP, the self-written, self-produced Heaven’s Only Wishful. At a packed Songbyrd in DC, he played nearly, if not all, of his released discography and more.
"I don't like talking loudly, it hurts my voice," Duffy proclaimed shortly after the start of her set. Instead, she let her guitar and loop pedal do the talking at her packed-out Songbyrd show.
The Stampede’s rhythm section has an unobtrusive groove that allows Cooper to shine—whether it’s her quieter, finger-picked guitar work, overdriven vocal style, or the fuzzy and psychedelic fringes of her sound that have roots back to The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.
Liz Cooper and The Stampede’s “Hey Man” — a seemingly simple song about a bar room connection — is a straightforward rocker with tinged with psychedelic edges.
Washington, D.C. has been our home for over a decade now, but our time here is rapidly coming to a close. In one of our final broadcasts from our nation’s capital, Kevin sits down with Lindsay Hogan (Music Journalist/DIY maven) and Paul Vodra (Hometown Sounds) to talk about some of the music that moved us in 2018, how we got to this point, and where we’re going from here.
For those that like their catchy tracks with a bit of trepidation peppered in, there was no better place to be on Thursday night than with Big Data.
The Philly-based Trash Boy has got a lot to get off their chest in the nation’s capitol. What better way to do it than through some boisterous and rage-filled punk rock?
Hailing from both sides of the Rio Grande, The Chamanas meld the musical traditions of multiple countries into something uniquely their own. They’ve played alongside the likes of Odesza, Beach House, and Portugal. the Man for good reason.
While St. Patrick's Day revelers roamed about from bar to bar around Adams Morgan, Songbyrd alongside local music site Capitol Sound DC took concertgoers to beachier, more care-free locales, courtesy of multi-instrumentalist Soft Glas (AKA Joao Gonzalez). He recently completed a tour with Overcoats as their backing drummer, but his musical ability goes much further than that - his album Orange Earth is a textbook example of nostalgia as a mission statement. His upbringing isn't hard to discern in his music: he grew up in the South Florida suburb of Coral Springs and his father is a Grammy Award-winning Cuban jazz pianist. The album brims with sunny nostalgia and little flourishes of flutes and saxophone throughout. Gonzalez plays most of the instruments heard on the album, and his attention to detail in crafting a singular vision of dreamy, sunset-soaked music is a treat for the ears.
In the world of DC live music, there was a lot to write about in 2017. I.M.P. made its broad presence even broader with the 6,000-capacity Anthem. Songbyrd solidified its niche in the up-and-coming R&B/hip-hop scene with clutch bookings like Xavier Omar, Jamila Woods, and Noname (and booked its first show at The Fillmore, with more co-bookings to come). Competition in the 200-500-capacity space increased with new venues like Union Stage, Pearl Street Warehouse, and The Miracle Theatre. Mount Pleasant DIY venue OTHERFEELS hosted its first DMV music showcase at 9:30 Club, with a second coming in late December. There really is no shortage of opportunities to catch live music in our nation's capital.
I covered 47 shows and one three-day festival for ChunkyGlasses this year, and it’s been a wild ride covering shows in venues big (Capital One Arena) and small (Dew Drop Inn). While most of there were a lot of great shows, the following ten best showcase why the live music experience is so essential. These artists convey emotion and energy in a way that can’t be contained within the confines of an album. With these shows, it was hard to walk away without the lingering feeling of ‘holy shit, they REALLY put their heart and soul into it tonight.’
So with that, here are my ten favorite shows of 2017. Click the headers to see more pics and a full recap of that show.
PS - And if you're still interested in knowing what my favorite songs from this year were, here's my Spotify playlist - Mauricio's Favorite Fifty of 'Seventeen!
There are two sides of Alex Cameron that fans need to know: the calm, collected leader of a six-person band, and the schlocky, insecure character he channels in his music who wants to stuff losers into school lockers. Why? If you haven't listened to "Marlon Brando" yet, off of Cameron's latest album Forced Witness, you'd probably get the wrong idea: "So I'll tell you something sister, I'm feeling mighty fine / You tell that little faggot call me faggot one more time." It's strange hearing lines like these in 2017, but it’s all part of the hilariously insecure persona he’s crafted for these songs. His lyrics are so pointedly sharp that if you didn't know any better, you’d assume he was an internet troll who decided to make some music about it. But if you dismissed him, you'd be missing out on one of the funniest and most straightforwardly 80s pop albums of the year, drawing inspiration from the likes of Rick Springfield or Eddie Money to great effect.
If you take the laid-back, nerdy charm of Rivers Cuomo and combine it with the retro-pop grooves of Tennis or even Foxygen (minus some of vocalist Sam France’s bombast), you would probably get something in the vein of Dent May. The musician from Oxford, Mississippi has made his name creating warm and breezy pop songs with a distinguishable throwback croon and falsetto. His latest outing Across the Multiverse has more indie-pop polish than ever before - his croon is as good as ever, and so is the instrumentation surrounding it. The space-themed setting and the lapel pin on the album cover says it all - it's an indie-pop escape, and he brought his flight of fancy to Songbyrd for an entertaining Sunday night.
NYC-based duo Gracie and Rachel joined with Vermont's Henry Jamison for a co-headlining night of orchestral pop and indie-folk music at Songbyrd.
For many, 2017 was the year they discovered the Mattson 2. The twins from Los Angeles, Jared and Johnathan Matson, had a chance encounter with Toro y Moi's Chaz Bundick. Touring with Bundick as openers created a unique rapport, one that led to the intriguing side project, Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2. It was a laid-back album that flowed well with the sound Bundick crafted in What Now?, but it was clear that the guitars and drums of the Mattson 2 had a big part in that. With a mini-east coast tour kicking off at Songbyrd, they proved why they were sought after in the first place: because they're damn good at what they do
Tank & the Bangas have gone viral, and they have NPR to thank. Though the New Orleans band only has one album under their wings, the independently-released 2013 album Think Tank, a coveted spot in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series catapulted them to Internet fame. As the winners of the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest, a nationwide talent search for the best band that hasn’t broken through yet, their Tiny Desk Concert has been viewed more than 1.5 million times and counting. DC was quick to snap up what precious few tickets were available once Songbyrd announced the band’s concert. And amongst all the hype surrounding the band, their stellar performance made them some new fans that have reason to be very excited about the band’s bright future.