Deerhoof Coming to Town
with a Few Friends

Deerhoof. Photo by Dan Jarvis

Indie music’s greatest purveyors of pop turned on its head, Deerhoof, will hit the stage at Black Cat Saturday, Jan. 28. And while the San Francisco foursome and their eclectic slate of tour mates are the definition of unpredictable performers, one thing is for certain: this is a show not to be missed.

Deerhoof is coming off their most critically acclaimed (and publicly accessible) release, The Runners Four. Over the course of their lauded six-album career, the band has stumped music critics who’ve all fallen short of labeling their sound, calling Deerhoof everything from “post punk” to “art punk” to “no wave.” This latest album continues the band’s dedication to eschewing categorization, their bombastic songs constantly changing tempo and instrumentation without warning. The album, like previous releases Apple O’ and Milk Man, is consistently reinventing itself and shifting focus. Each song stands on its own making an individual statement about what pop music can be, which promises for a highly-charged stage show of wide scope.

Deerhoof is famous for taking their music to new heights of energy when playing for a live audience; thrashing about the stage and pushing their sound louder and stranger. Their repertoire has always been about startling dichotomies: lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s delicate and childlike voice over powerful walls of sound; a pulsing rhythm section and forceful punch of guitars simultaneously thrashing and tiptoeing upon a carefully composed melodic line. Plus, drummer Greg Saunier is one of the most talented beat keepers performing music live today.

Starter Set
Starter Set DVD Cover

Luckily for you, the $10 ticket price includes not only a Deerhoof performance, but an entire night of multimedia experiences. Director and animator Martha Colburn will be on hand to screen some of her recent works, including her music video for Deerhoof’s “Wrong Time Capsule.” Also performing is Starter Set, a sampling of ‚Äúnew dance and music created for the camera‚Äù by a collective of New York and L.A. dance groups including the Leg and Pants Dans Theeatre, Hysterica Dance Co., and 4 Hard Gulps Theater Company. The dancers have recently been getting attention for their modern dance sets staged to punk and indie rock music. Starter Set, a collection of visual and musical performances was recently released on DVD by Deerhoof‚Äôs record label, Kill Rock Stars.

Two relatively unknown musicians out of Bordeaux, France will provide some opening music for the headliners. L’ocelle Mare is a solo guitarist drawing from both classical and experimental influences. He explores many aspects of his chosen instrument, some songs are very percussive while others have a harp like quality to them. On the other hand, fellow Frenchman Le Ton Mite is a fierce noise machine, creating cacophonous compositions that sound almost like exercises in very, very experimental free jazz. For a preview of the insanity, visit

The show, on Black Cat’s mainstage Saturday, Jan. 28, kicks off at 9:30 p.m.

The New World — Movie Review

The New World photophoto courtesy New Line Cinema

Terrence Malick and I have history. As a teenage film buff, I was excited when Malick, director of the classic spree killer flick Badlands, came out from whatever rock he was hiding under to direct The Thin Red Line, which promised to be an art house war movie. Snobby and violent, could you go wrong?

The New World poster

The New World
(New Line Cinema)
Rated: PG-13
starstarstarstar (out of 4)
Official Site

Yes: three hours of impressive Australian scenery and poetic voiceovers, but not much else. Narrative was thrown right out the window as one scene haphazardly ran into the next. Even though the voiceovers clued me in on their internal monologues, the characters themselves were sparsely drawn, sometimes one dimensional. There were powerful scenes, but on the whole the movie fell flat. Malick���s lost it after 20 years without making a film, I thought.

So I was wary when I heard the buzz surrounding The New World, Malick���s take on the founding of Jamestown and the legend of Pocahontas and John Smith. But my fears of a Thin Red repeat are completely off-mark, as here Malick weaves a tapestry thick with depth and symbolism around a strong narrative and characters that jump off the screen, with the help of a fantastic young talent as Pocahontas. The New World is about discovery, internal and external, and easily one of the best films of 2005.

As we learned in American history class, shortly after the founding of Jamestown, Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) is sent to see the native’s big chief to talk about trading and, in a thrilling sequence, is saved from execution by Pocahontas (Q’Orianka Kilcher). Thus starts their courtship, as Smith teaches Pocahontas English and English ways while idealizing the communal and simple living of ���the naturals.��� He seeks redemption, a new self in this new world, through his love of Pocahontas, full of life and spirit, and she falls for the mysterious yet passionate foreigner as well. Continue reading →

The Speaks plus JunkFood w/ guest Soul Lipat at The State Theatre

The Speaks
plus JunkFood

Genre: Indie Rock

‚ÄúIn the age of shoe gazers and too-cool-for-the-room alternative bands, it‚Äôs refreshing to see a band that brings the songs you hear recorded to a higher level in performance. T he Speaks are the true sense of what a band is supposed to be….different characters all assembled by a common music thread and that thread has one hell of a groove. DC 101 loves thespeaks Last Band Standing Winners 2004‚Äù
– Joe Bevilacqua/Program Director DC101

‚ÄúThe Speaks give us commanding rock with a grunge edge. ‚ÄòSolitary‚Äô has all the power of Pearl Jam, but without the whining… multiple explosions of sound and raspy vocals are a winning combination. You’ll be hitting replay on this one”
– The Washington Post

“I really am impressed by JunkFood’s professionalism and fire for marketing and promotion. There’s a million bands out there and in ’05 its not just the music that will speak for itself…JunkFood has a great following, plus they’re a great band and have a great live set…” – Joe Bevilacqua, Program Director, DC101-FM, Washington, DC

Saturday January 21
Doors: 7 PM
Showtime 9 PM
Tickets: $10 advance / $12 day of show

The Matador — Movie Review

The Matador photophoto courtesy Miramax

A mustached Pierce Brosnan walks through a hotel lobby wearing only a speedo, beer can in hand, gut hanging out, cigarette drooping out of the side of his smirk. The other guests stare, almost horrified, and obviously we���re supposed to have the same reaction: that can���t be (the former) James Bond playing washed-up hitman Julian Noble in The Matador. Julian is a complete 180 from James Bond: instead of style, he oozes sleaze; while Bond is a charmer, Julian is a bisexual predator, eyeing Catholic schoolgirls and raiding S&M clubs.

Matador poster
The Matador
Rated: R
starstarstar (out of 4)
Official Site

Cinephiles may remember a similar anti-Bond performance Brosnan gave in The Tailor of Panama as a disgraced British agent who stews up trouble in Panama just because he���s bored and horny. But Julian is a far more complex and ultimately redeemable character that Brosnan plays with both gusto and finesse. Even though the setup is reminiscent of Gross Pointe Blank, The Matador���s focus on friendship, particularly male bonding, and Brosnan���s surprisingly articulate performance make this film a whole other beast.

On his birthday, when he���s alone and watching TV in a Mexico City hotel room, Julian realizes he has no friends. Scanning through his address book, he finds only brothels and gun shops. After indulging in an orgy, Julian meets businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), who is recovering from losing his job and his son. His current shaky business deal is essential to his survival, but he hides his lack of confidence in that suburban American appearances-are-everything way, which attracts Julian to him. Julian feeds off Danny���s normalcy ��� the first thing he wants to know is if Danny has a wife and kids. He wants a taste of that white-bread living that Danny sweats, and Danny indulges in Julian���s more exciting world of hits and screwing whole Filipino whorehouses. Continue reading →

This Week In Music…

Picks for the week of Friday, January 20 — Thursday, January 26.

Dear everyone: thanks for reading the site. We love you too, and we want to keep helping you find the best local music, week by week. Check our venue listings page for a more complete calendar.

Friday Jan 20 >>

Washington Social Club
Washington Social Club

Washington Social Club starts off the week with a show at Jammin’ Java. These hyped-up rockers love to have a good time, and their live show reflects it. Opening up is retro-pop group Pepper’s Ghost, as well as another local band, Adelyn. FREE MP3: “Are You High (Live)” by Washington Social Club

Mike Holden isn’t only a well known singer/songwriter, he’s one of the biggest supporters of local music in the DC area. Now it’s time to show him some support. Mike will be playing in-store at Revolution Records this Friday. Sarah Kryscio kicks things off at 7pm and Mike will follow her. This will be a FREE performance and copies of his Level EP will be for sale that night at the store.

The 9:30 Club is partying like it’s 1996 on Friday with a couple of bands I swore had disappeared. Less Than Jake headlines this tour, appropriately titled “In With The Out Crowd,” with Big D and the Kids Table opening up. Also playing are DaMone and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldiers.

Saturday Jan 21 >>

Alcian Blue
Alcian Blue

Alcian Blue creates sound textures unlike anything we’ve heard in years. They’ve put out some great singles and compilation tracks, but if you really want to hear this band, you need to see them live. Which is why they are our PICK OF THE WEEK, playing at the Galaxy Hut with The Third Programme.

DC-based music webzine BigYawn is celebrating their 2nd birthday with a party at DC9. They’ve invited three bands to play the show: Aluminum Babe, Cedars, and Breaking Laces.

Sunday Jan 22 >>

Disconnect is an electro-based solo artist on Lujo Records, a DC-based label representing some of our favorite local bands. He is playing the Galaxy Hut on Sunday.

Cecilia is a six-piece band from New York. Five of the members are family. Laura Veltz, one of Cecilia’s lead vocalists, comes to the Iota Club & Cafe, with local singer/songwriter Taylor Carson opening up.

Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players
Trachtenberg Family
Slideshow Players

Evan Bliss fronts the local band the Low Life, but is playing a solo show Sunday at the Iota Club & Cafe, with Shane Hines and the Glass-Bottom Boats opening up.

Nellie McKay is headlining a show at the Birchmere on Sunday, and to be honest, I have no idea who she is. Opening up however, are the fabulously entertaining Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players, a family (the drummer can’t be older than 10) who collects vintage slide collections from garage sales & thrift stores, and turns the lives of these strangers into whimsical pop-rock tunes. A must see.

Monday Jan 23 >>

Most people remember the Meat Puppets from their appearance on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged. The Brothers Meat, however, have gone on to successful solo careers. Curt Kirkwood is playing at the Iota Club & Cafe with Mike Maloney.

Tuesday Jan 24 >>

This is a big week for the Iota Club & Cafe. Tuesday sees A.J. Croce, a versatile jazz and blues musician who has recorded with Ry Cooder, Robben Ford, and T-Bone Burnett. You may have heard of his famous father. He is playing with Jesse Elliot of DC’s own These United States.

Wednesday Jan 25 >>

Christmas was a month ago already. Weird, huh?

Thursday Jan 26 >>

Evan Dando
Evan Dando

Evan Dando, formerly the frontman of The Lemonheads, is playing at the Iota Club & Cafe on Thursday night. His set is opened by Andy Zipf, a local singer/songwriter with an arsenal of electronic tricks.

No Second Troy is a local DC band that has been building a serious buzz since their debut in 2003, playing the SXSW festival and other major events. They are playing DC9 on Thursday, joined by Snoozebox and Taylor Carson.

Closing out our week in music is a show at the 9:30 Club featuring the jazz and pop-influenced Jack’s House, who are joined by soulful rockers Politicks.