This Week In Music

Picks for the week of Friday, March 17 –- Thursday, March 23.

It’s a great week for music here in the District. We’ve got Jenny Lewis, Animal Collective, and Motion City Soundtrack. We’re even giving away free tickets with the first-ever Mudsugar Contest! As always, check our venue listings page for a more complete musical calendar.

Saturday March 18 >>

Matt Pond PA debuted in 1998, and won top honors that same year in CDnow’s unsigned bands competition. Their breezy, orchestral pop is gorgeous in melody and instrumentation. They are playing the 9:30 Club on Saturday, with the Australian sensations Youth Group opening the show. FREE MP3: “Grave’s Disease” by Matt Pond PA

Casiotone for the Painfully AloneCasiotone for the Painfully Alone is Owen Ashworth, who is a lot less pretentious than his moniker suggests. When I saw Owen play a few years ago, he played heartbreak ditties on his Casio and made kissy noises into the mic. It was endearing, but not particularly memorable. He has since upgraded to including other instruments, and his sound has filled out and grown considerably. I’m excited to see the changes live. The Donkeys open this show at the Galaxy Hut. FREE MP3: “Young Shields” by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Sunday March 19 >>

The Go! Team has stormed the independent scene like no-one since Ben Gibbard & Jimmy Tamborello. This Brighton six-piece makes music you can’t help but love. Opening their sold-out show at the Black Cat is Medications and Talkdemonic.

Motion City Soundtrack play ass-shaking pop-punk that hails back to the mid-90s heyday of the Epitaph Records roster. These boys put on an incredible show, with moog acrobaticsis finally headlining at the 9:30 Club, and it’s sold out. But don’t fear, loyal reader! Mudsugar is looking out for you. We’ve got detailed instructions on how you can see them anyway. Just scroll down a line or two…

Monday March 20 >>

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MUDSUGAR EXCLUSIVE! FREE TICKETS!
Motion City Soundtrack
at the Great Hall in Fredericksburg!

That’s right, kids. The sold-out MCS tour is stopping a mere 50 miles south of DC for an unlisted show at the University of Mary Washington, with tourmates the Format, the Matches, and Men Women and Children opening up the night. There are more than 200 tickets still available for this show! You can order yours online from UMW’s Giant Productions, or buy them at the door. For those of you with big dreams but small wallets, you can win a free ticket by participating in the first-ever Mudsugar Contest. Here’s how it works: As you know, we’re getting ready for the official launch of Mudsugar Magazine, a local rag dedicated to promoting alternative arts, music and film in the DC area. We’ve got some awesome tricks up our sleeve, but we want to hear from you! Leave a comment on this post with your suggestion for how Mudsugar can better serve the DC scene. The first five suggestions received by 12pm on Monday, March 20th will win a free ticket to see Motion City Soundtrack at the Great Hall in Fredericksburg, VA. Tell us what you’d like to see on the site, or in the magazine. We dig what we’re doing, but we can always do better. Help us help you.

Tuesday March 21 >>

Stereloab is one of the most unique and influential bands of the last fifteen years. Their experimental sound has inspired countless imitators as well as innovators in electronic pop. Sam Prekop opens this show at the 9:30 Club.

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Animal Collective toured relentlessly after 2004’s Sung Tongs, then took an extended break. They’re back on the road in support of their latest release, Feels. Iceland’s own Storsveit Nix Noltes opens this show at the Black Cat.

Wednesday March 22 >>

J. Mascis has a metal band? I’m stumped, for once. The stoner-rock legend of Dinosaur Jr. fame is playing the Black Cat with his new band Witch. Wooly Mammoth starts off the night.

Thursday March 23 >>

The Magic Numbers hail from London, but sound like the best that American 60’s pop had to offer. Blake Sennet is opening their show at the 9:30 Club with his band The Elected. Strangely enough, a member of Blake’s other band, Rilo Kiley, is playing down at the Birchmere the same night. Gossip-factor aside, I think this is a case of tourmate love, not rivalry. They’re so cute together.

Jenny LewisJenny Lewis has made a gorgeous album. You’ve probably heard it by now, considering that her other band is one of the best things to happen to independent music in years. Full of rich narratives and soulful sound, Rabbit Fur Coat delivers on the promises made by Jenny’s best Rilo Kiley songs. I can’t wait to see this live. Johnathan Rice opens this show at the Birchmere.

The Gossip will make you dance, and “if you don’t want to dance, just stay at home and listen to the oldies station.” I like oldies, myself, but singer Beth Sorrentino has a point. The Gossip are young and full of blood. Her Daily Obsession opens up their show at the Black Cat. Check out the poster for the show designed by El Jefe Design.

“An Impression: Dischord Records” at the DC Independent Film Festival

An Impression: Dischord Records

For a subject with as interesting a history as Dischord Records, the documentary “An Impression: Dischord Records” (Produced by Leena Jayaswol & Kylos Brannon and featured in this year’s DC Independent Film Festival) crams a fairly concise portrait into a slender fifteen minutes. For the uninitiated, this doc is a great stepping-stone with which to approach the history of one of the most storied, notorious, and organically run record labels in the world. For anyone who owns more than one Fugazi record or who knows who Ian Svenonius is, “Impression” is a superficial review. Despite an attractive opening sequence, juxtaposing gritty DC scenery with flyer and album art from the label’s early days, nothing leaps out visually. The short film’s key strengths are in the content, which brings a steady barrage of eye and ear candy for any DC punk aficionado. Continue reading →

Wolf Parade poster for the Black Cat

Wolf Parade poster

Here is the latest poster creation from El Jefe Design www.eljefedesign.com for Wolf Parade as they play The Black Cat, April 12th. The limited edition, silk screened posters will be available for purchase at the show and on the El Jefe site.


This is part of our ongoing local artist concert poster and hanbill gallery — if you are an artist, or band and would like to submit the poster or handbill from your upcoming show email the poster image with artist information, and show information including a blurb about the show and the poster to posters [at] mudsugar [dot] com. Please make sure emails are no larger than 1mb.


The Gossip poster for the Black Cat

The Gossip concert poster

Here is the latest poster creation from El Jefe Design www.eljefedesign.com for The Gossip concert at the Black Cat, March 23rd. The limited edition, silk screened posters will be available for purchase at the show and on the El Jefe site.


This is part of our ongoing local artist concert poster and hanbill gallery — if you are an artist, or band and would like to submit the poster or handbill from your upcoming show email the poster image with artist information, and show information including a blurb about the show and the poster to posters [at] mudsugar [dot] com. Please make sure emails are no larger than 1mb.


Lee Rocker concert poster for Black Cat

Lee Rocker concert poster

Here is the latest poster creation from El Jefe Design www.eljefedesign.com for Lee Rocker (ex-Stray Cats) as he and his band plays the Black Cat, March 25th. The limited edition posters is available for purchase on the El Jefe site.


This is part of our ongoing local artist concert poster and hanbill gallery — if you are an artist, or band and would like to submit the poster or handbill from your upcoming show email the poster image with artist information, and show information including a blurb about the show and the poster to posters [at] mudsugar [dot] com. Please make sure emails are no larger than 1mb.


New London Fire at the Velvet Lounge

New London Fire

Live Review: New London Fire at the Velvet Lounge, 3/9/06 >>

The Velvet Lounge, contrary to puzzling misconceptions, isn’t merely a great little U Street bar in which to meet for a drink prior to catching a show around the corner at the 9:30 Club. At the top of their narrow staircase, the second level of the club boasts an equally great little room to catch a live show. On Thursday night, New London Fire, from Union City, NJ, opened the first night of their first-ever tour here and, based on the strength of their set, they may just find themselves around the corner at the 9:30’s more storied stage before too much longer.

Shortly after midnight, the band opened their set by launching into their signature number, the epic pop confection (and number one smash in a just world), “Different,” and if you were fortunate enough to be among the small crowd at the Velvet on Thursday night, you may well have found yourself stunned to be hearing such an arena-ready crowd pleaser performed by an unknown band. As their forty-minute set went on to prove, with lush, swirling synth notes, crisply chiming guitar, and the assured confidence of frontman, David Debiak (formerly of Sleep Station, along with his brother and keyboard player, Jason), The Killers had better be looking over their shoulders.

As New London Fire continues on their tour, making their way to a coveted slot on the opening night of Austin’s South by Southwest Music conference this Wednesday, no doubt their set will be honed to a diamond sharp edge … and if all goes well in Austin, where buzz is born every year, it’s unlikely you’ll be seeing them in a room as small as the Velvet Lounge on their next trip to D.C. but, no matter the size of the room, you would do well to be a part of the crowd filling it upon their return.

Of course the Academy got it wrong! The true two best pictures

OscarCall it “The Snub Heard ‘Round the World.”

One has to wonder whether the Academy of Arts and Sciences was playing it safe in crowning Crash best picture instead of the heavily favored Brokeback Mountain, which had won the owner from the Golden Globes and just about every respected film critics’ organization. Did conservative members, unable to accept a homosexual love story (The Hours, which had a bunch of gays and lesbians, lost out to Chicago back in 2003), go with the race relations flick? I’ve already read the excuse that West Coast Academy members were more affected by Crash because it took place in L.A., but I’m not buying it. I think the Academy wussed out.

But this year was tough as, for a change, all the nominees for best picture were excellent films (well, four were excellent and one was good). Also, four of the five films highly are social-conscious works that take on issues pertinent to these troubled times. The Academy chose substance over fluff. And I don’t mean to discount Crash, because it is a powerful and thought-provoking film; I’d go as far to say that it’s one of the best ensemble dramas I’ve seen in the last five years. But out of the five nominees, it was actually my number three pick.

Up until the moments before I heard the news, I hadn’t made up my mind between Munich and Brokeback Mountain. When I did choose, I went with the critics: Brokeback is an astounding film, rich with narrative, imagery, and subtle symbolism that is all too lacking in American films.

(Warning: All kinds of spoilers ahead.) Continue reading →

This Week In Music…

Picks for the week of Friday, March 10 –- Thursday, March 16.

venue listings page for a more complete musical calendar.

Friday March 10 >>

The Pogues were one of the most important bands of the early 80s punk scene, inspired by their neighbors the Clash. They are now reunion-touring the States and have sold out the 9:30 Club tonight.

Weird War
Weird War

Racebannon has been called “the most frightening yet talented band ever.” I’ve seen them a few times in the seven years, and I have to agree. Progressive hardcore fans will love it. Gospel, Mass Movement of the Moth, and Rue the Day open this show at the Warehouse Next Door.

Weird War (formerly Scene Creamers) is the musical brainchild of Ian Svenonius, a member of the Nation of Ulysses and the Make-Up. Featuring a new line-up, Weird War plays the Black Cat with Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds and Benjy Ferree.

Saturday March 11 >>

Measles Mumps Rubella are an Awesome DC band who are celebrating the release of their newest album with a show at DC9. French Toast and Free Blood start off the night. FREE MP3: “Fantastic Success” by Measles Mumps Rubella

Sunday March 12 >>

Beth Orton is back (did she ever go away, really?) with a new album that new album proves her ability to develop in a ten-year career, rather than stagnate like so many singer/songwriters. Comfort of Strangers was produced by Sonic Youth’s Jim O’Rourke, with the title track written by Beth, Jim and the increasingly-prolific M. Ward. She and Willy Mason have sold out the 9:30 Club this weekend. Continue reading →