Ever since DC area’s Jeffrey Everett started his design firm, El Jefe Design (pronounced L-Heff-A), in May of 2003, he has been making waves with his creative well-designed products. You may have seen his concert posters in rotation on the homepage of the Black Cat website or on the walls of the club itself. He has created posters for Supersystem, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Low, be your own Pet (he designed this one for us), Lee Rocker, The Gossip, Wolf Parade and many more. Continue reading →
First, an introduction, and a confession: â€œHi, Iâ€™m John, and Iâ€™m a Southby-aholic.â€
This year marked my eighth consecutive pilgrimage to Austin, TX, for the annual South by Southwest music festival (as above, referred to by frequent attendees as Southby). Known, variously, among friends and musicians, as â€œRock â€˜nâ€™ Roll Spring Break,â€ â€œIndie-Rock Mardi Gras,â€ and â€œRock â€˜nâ€™ Roll Olympics,â€ I think I may prefer the sobriquet that occurred to me this year mid-fest: Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roll Christmas. Continue reading →
Well, sort of. As you can see we’re not quite finished. There’s going to be quite a bit of glitches and broken links that we’ll be tying up over the next few days. Thanks for your patience while we work.
Some of the new features we’ve added:
City Guide: Our Washington DC City Guide will be fully operational on Monday and will include information and links to our favorite music venues, clubs, bars, record stores, coffee shops, free wifi spots, and other independently owned business.
MP3 Blog: Our truly unique MP3 Blog will start on Monday and will offer Free downloads of our favorite recordings from our favorite artists, and stories about the songs as told by the artists themselves.
Photo Blog: Due to the great response we’ve had from the couple of photo-posts we’ve made in the past we have started our own Photo Blog. The staff of Mudsugar and guest photographers will be showing off their DC related photos and their related stories.
We are launching our new site design today around 2pm so come on back.
The new site will have many new features including easier access to subsections, a complete City Guide, an MP3 Blog, a Photo Blog, News Shorts, and Forums.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.
Picks for the week of Friday, March 24 â€” Thursday, March 30.
It’s another sold-out week of music in DC. Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s Motion City Soundtrack contest. Especially the angry guy; those were some great suggestions.
Friday Mar 24 >>
Most of us know Ted Leo from his last two albums with the Pharmacists. In fact, he’s been making great music since the early 90’s, when he fronted Chisel. Though Leo’s sound has evolved considerably over the last 15 years, he still plays with an energy unmatched by most. Les Aus and the Duke Spirit open this sold-out show at the Black Cat. FREE MP3: “Ghosts” by Ted Leo + the Pharmacists
Kelley Stoltz brings his light-hearted and melodic low-fi to the IOTA Club & Cafe on Friday night. Southern roots-rockers Shurman kick off the night. FREE MP3: “Jewel of the Evening” by Kelley Stoltz
Continue reading →
Movie Review >>
I think I really need to stop watching movie trailers altogether. While arriving early for a feature so I can catch the previews and get pumped for what will be coming soon to a theater near me is one of my most favorite parts of the moviegoing experience, it tends to lead to me being underwhelmed when I finally see the films that I had so badly wanted to see just months before. V for Vendetta definitely fits that example. V is a solid action film, full of gorgeous sets and costumes (Natalie Portman looks particularly beautiful in this film), and packed with some great performances from British actors, including Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Stephen Rea and Ben Miles of Coupling fame.
V for Vendetta takes place some 20 or so years in the future, when America has collapsed due to war and disease, and Great Britain is the reigning superpower it once was. However, in the future, the government has complete and total control over its people. There are curfews. Certain music has been banned, along with films, art, the Qur’an, sculptures, you get the picture. The government hates, and will imprison anyone who is “different.” If it sounds like we’ve gone back to Nazi Germany, we may as well have.
V beings with the reading of the Guy Fawkes poem, “Remember, Remember the Fifth of November,” as we watch Gunpowder Plot unfold. We soon meet V (played by Hugo Weaving), who wears a Guy Fawkes mask and seems to be a little bit Batman, a little bit Phantom of the Opera. He saves the heroine of our piece, Evey (Coincidence? He thinks not.), when he saves her from some Finger Men (Britain’s equivalent to the SS). As most girls do when they are saved by strange masked men, Evey becomes very taken with V. She soon learns of his plan to finish what Guy Fawkes started on November 5th, 1605. V wants the entire country to awake from their zombie like states under the British government and break free from the oppression and fear that they have been trapped by for years. The film is full of strong performances by all of its actors (though, Natalie Portman’s accent grew a little bit annoying at times). Perhaps the weakest of all performances was Weaving’s as V. It may not have been his fault, though. As Evey finds, it is quite difficult to connect to a man whose eyes you can never look into. The release of V was originally slated for last fall, but was postponed due to the London bombings in July of last year, and its hard not to see why. Some of the most violent scenes take place in old Underground stations.
Picks for the week of Friday, March 17 â€“- 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 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 >>
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.
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 >>
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 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.
For a subject with as interesting a history as Dischord Records, the documentary â€œAn Impression: Dischord Recordsâ€ (Produced by Leena Jayaswol & Kylos Brannon and featured in this yearâ€™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, â€œImpressionâ€ is a superficial review. Despite an attractive opening sequence, juxtaposing gritty DC scenery with flyer and album art from the labelâ€™s early days, nothing leaps out visually. The short filmâ€™s key strengths are in the content, which brings a steady barrage of eye and ear candy for any DC punk aficionado. Continue reading →