Tobin Sprout may be best known for his time as a member of fabled Daytona, OH lo-fi rockers Guided By Voices, but he is also a prolific solo artist, having released several albums of his own over the course of the last decade. When the “classic” Guided By Voices lineup reunited in 2010 he put his solo career on hold, touring extensively and recording six albums with the band over a four-year period. After the band split again in 2014 (with band leader Robert Pollard eventually forming an entirely new lineup), many fans may have wondered what Sprout would do next. The answer finally came this year, as he released his sixth solo album, The Universe & Me, and embarked on his first real solo tour in over a decade.
WIth over forty albums, both live and in the studio, under his belt, jazz guitarist George Benson is one of the most respected and prolific musicians in music history.
In 1980 he teamed up with hitmaker Quincy Jones and with A LOT of help from their friends, crafted one of the greatest R&B albums/songs of all time.
Break out the Courvoisier and cashmere V-neck, because we're going IN on George Benson's sensational, sensual masterpiece, Give Me The Night!
After a fateful posting on Craigslist looking for a guitarist, drummer Celeste “C.C.” Spina met guitarist Anthony “Tone” Calatano. And thus, the blues-rock duo (and now husband-and-wife duo) Little Hurricane came to fruition. Two days before releasing their third and latest album Same Sun Same Moon, they performed at Songbyrd and proved that their band’s name is a perfectly apt description of their on-stage energy, and then some.
Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche has been a musical chameleon throughout his career, going where his whims take him. Past dalliances have included rocking out, acoustic ballads, jazz quartets, and Brazilian Tropicália, but his latest album (his eighth proper studio album) Pleasure sees him wandering in the direction of the dance clubs, with synth sounds coming straight out of the 80s. The opening track to the album, “Soft Feelings,” begins with a driving synth that’s a direct homage to New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” setting the tone for Lerche’s most consistently upbeat (musically, if not lyrically) record yet.
PJ Harvey released her ninth studio album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, last year, her first since 2011’s Let England Shake. The album, a concept work that deals with themes of poverty and gentrification, caused some consternation here in DC upon its release, as Harvey based several of the songs on a tour of the city (in particular Ward 7) which she took with Washington Post reporter Paul Schwartzman, and much of her commentary was less than flattering. While the controversy over the record was fairly short-lived, she has so far avoided the city in her extensive touring for the album. Whether that’s intentional or not is hard to tell, but DC fans that wanted to see her perform needed to take a road trip to The National in Richmond this past weekend (though she is coming to Wolf Trap, out in the Northern Virginia suburbs, on the next leg of the tour in July). Those who did make the journey saw a performer at the top of her game, and got to hear both new songs and several classics from her extensive catalog.
Over the course of their now more-than-three-decade long career, The Wedding Present have become a British musical institution. They were one of the bands featured on NME’s now legendary C86 cassette, and were arguably one of the most successful – of the 21 other bands on the tape, only Primal Scream might rival them for a stronger claim to fame. Famed BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel championed them over the years, and their churning guitar sound helped to influence an entire generation of British indie pop that followed after them. While they’ve always had more of a cult following in the US, it’s a devoted one. The Weddoes, as their UK fans affectionately refer to them, last played in DC five years ago for the 21st anniversary of their 1991 album Seamonsters, but the time away didn’t keep a crowd from turning up for their return to the Rock and Roll Hotel last week.
On his major label debut At What Cost, Washington DC's Goldlink is shining the light on the city that shaped him, and bringing a long some of the hottest up-and-coming DC stars for the ride.
Marcus Dowling (Decades, Bandcamp) and newbie Jake Ramirez join Kevin in the basement to discuss this ambitious ode to the nation's capitol and see whether it does our shared hometown right, or if this history lesson needs a little more meat on it's bones.
PLUS! Barf Troop's Babeo Baggins, now B.B, is back and this hip-hop innovator has gone COUNTRY! We'll tell you all about it, and give you a taste of her latest single, "Thunderbird", for good measure. Giddyup!
Kendrick Lamar may well be the "best rapper alive" but beyond all the hype, he's an artist who wears his vulnerability on his sleeve. On DAMN., his follow-up-proper to 2015's landmark LP To Pimp A Butterfly, the Compton native takes listener on a journey through his often tortured psyche, the community he comes from, and what it means to have faith in faithless times.
Come hang with Kevin, Marcus Dowling (Decades, Bandcamp), Ian Taronji (The Lucky So & So's), and Marcus J. Moore (Senior Editor, Bandcamp) as we dive deep into this complex statement from one of today's biggest, and most important stars.
PLUS! We've got your first taste of the DC-based cosmic collective Nag Champa's upcoming EP for you to sink your MIND into. Buy the ticket. Take the ride...
Mark Eitzel and Howe Gelb are very different musically, but their careers have followed similar trajectories. Both came to prominence as the leaders of highly influential indie bands – Eitzel with American Music Club, and Gelb with Giant Sand – and managed to turn the popularity of those bands into successful solo careers (not always an easy feat). More remarkably, both artists released their first albums with those bands – American Music Club’s The Restless Stranger and Giant Sand’s Valley of Rain – in 1985, and both artists released their first solo albums – Eitzel with Songs of Love and Gelb with Dreaded Brown Recluse – in 1991.
In their relatively short careers, Producer/DJ's Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, The Chainsmokers, have developed a reputation as solid-gold hitmakers sought after by the biggest names in the biz. Well..that's one of their reputations...
In a ChunkyGlasses FIRST, Kevin is taking the night off and Eduardo and Marcus (Dowling) are manning the mics to go IN on the duo's debut album, Memories...Do Not Open,which is currently the worst-reviewed album of 2017. So there's that.
Come on, get weird with us why don't ya
As a member of instrumental post-rock trio Dirty Three, drummer Jim White has had a hand in defining the genre for over two decades now, along with a long career of touring with artists such as Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, and numerous others. George (or Giorgos in his native Greek) Xylouris is an internationally recognized master of the laouto, a long-neck form of lute native to his home in Crete. The two began working together as Xylouris White in 2013, releasing their debut album Goats in 2014 and topping the Billboard World Music chart in November of that year. The project turned out not to be a one-off, as the duo returned late last year with Black Peak, their second album together. Last week, they made a tour stop in Baltimore at the Metro Gallery.
Thirty years ago a little "punk" band from Ireland changed pop music forever with the release of their fifth album, The Joshua Tree. Built on American roots music and soundscapes from the future, The Joshua Tree elevated the Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr from scrappy rock star activists to international superstars.
Join us as we explore the roots of this landmark album, it's impact on the musical landscape then and now, and it's relevance in a world that, 30 years later, is seemingly less changed than any of us could have hoped.
A recent sold-out double-header at DC9 gave those lucky enough to get tickets the chance to see two of the most buzzed about up-and-coming young bands in indie rock today. Oakland, CA-based Jay Som, the project of singer/songwriter Melina Duterte, and Vancouver, Canada-based trio The Courtneys have been getting a lot of attention lately, and their performances revealed why. Both bands performed short but poignant sets that showcased their talents and left the packed audience wanting for more.
Over the course of three albums now, Josh Tillman has made quite the reputation for himself as provocateur extraordinaire Father John Misty. On Pure Comedy, Tillman/Misty is letting it all hang out in a gaudy, profane, philosophically perverse masterpiece that transcends the swarmy persona that people love to hate by speaking up about nothing less than what it is to be human in the modern age.
Plus! Cory Branan is back with a new LP (Adios) and we've got the single "Imogene" to help you get re-acquainted with this talented singer/songwriter.
Atlanta's Mastodon, arguably the kings of modern metal, are back with a crushing new album that cements their legacy as much as it catapults them into the future. After playing it straight for two albums, Emperor Of Sand is a return to the concept album, this time exploring some very real, and very close to home, battles with cancer. Andre and Marcus join Kevin in the basement to talk through this savage masterpiece from one of the fiercest bands in the land.
PLUS! Saltland aka Rebecca Foon is back with a sublime new LP entitled A Common Truth, and we've got a listen to its latest single to help you come down.
Sleigh Bells’ angsty pop side project.
Why You Should Care:
“RODEO” is the latest project to come from the heavy-hitting indie pop project PSSY PWR. True to its name, the track cultivates a modern country atmosphere
On paper, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard sounds like a band that only the biggest music nerds could love. Case in point: the Australian seven-piece psychedelic group’s latest album, Flying Microtonal Banana, has as its central conceit that the band recorded it entirely with specially-modified instruments designed to allow them to play in microtone intervals, rather than the usual semitones of normal western instruments. Many of their songs don’t follow standard verse-chorus-verse pop forms so much as they build slowly and repetitively toward a conclusion from beginning to end. Some of the most devoted fans of the band have even worked out a complex theory of a “Gizzverse,” an alternate universe in which all of the band’s albums are connected, forming an overarching narrative that will only be fully revealed at the final one (a theory for which the band themselves have lent their own encouragement). Crazy, right?
Los Angeles-based band Allah-Las sound like a throwback, even if they’d prefer not to be described that way. Although they’ve only been around since 2008, many of their songs would fit perfectly in with 60s Nuggets-era artists like The Electric Prunes, The Standells, and The Seeds. With one foot in the psychedelic revival that’s been brought about in recent years by bands such as Tame Impala and Temples, and another in the garage rock of Reigning Sound and Black Lips, Allah-Las have created a unique space for themselves in the modern musical landscape. Where at first they were derided as derivative, they are now gaining respect for their musical chops, and are finding a respectable fan base to go with it.
Baltimore music mainstays Arbouretum returned from a hiatus last year with the promise that a follow-up to their 2013 masterpiece Coming Out of the Fog would be arriving in due course. That promise was fulfilled this month with the release of Song of the Rose, an album that maintains the classic Arbouretum sound while showcasing a band that is still growing and evolving. On the eve of its release, the band started off their round of touring for the record with a hometown album release show at the Ottobar.
Musical shaman Jamal Gray (Nag Champa, CMPVTR CLVB) is a creator, an educator, a motivator, a instigator, a father, a son, a being of the universe, and, most importantly, one of the the most vibrant and important voices in #newDC's burgeoning creative scene.
For the next hour and change he's here in the basement preaching the new gospel for the most powerful city in the world. Hang out for a while. Get illuminated.
PLUS! Jules Hale's tape project Den Mate found a home last year on DC's Babe City Records, and her atmospheric self-titled debut LP was the result. Get a taste of one of DC's best with the track "Insomniac", then get obsessed.