Welcome to the New Site

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.

Continue reading →

New Site Coming Today!!

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.

This Week In Music

Picks for the week of Friday, March 24 — 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 >>

Ted Leo

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 →

V for Vendetta

Movie Review >>

V for Vendetta Photo

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 poster
V for Vendetta
(Warner Bros.)
Rated: R
starstarstar (out of 4)
Official Site

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.

Continue reading →

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 >>


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 >>

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 →

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 →

Surprise Prince Show at Nation!

Just announced via his fan club, Prince will be appearing with his latest protege, Tamar, this Sunday and Monday, March 12 & 13 at Nation. If you caught their SNL performance together last month, you’ll know you won’t want to miss this.

If you’re a member of the fan club, the presale is going on NOW (it began at 10 a.m. this morning). If you’re not a member of the fan club, and think you might ever want to see Prince, you should become a member, as it only costs $25 to be a member for life, and membership gets you into presales where you can buy a pair of tickets to any show (usually within 10 rows of the stage for an arena show), and pay NO service charge.

You can join the fan club (and then buy Nation tix) at www.npgmc.com. Looks like member tix are still available for both nights. Presumably, the general onsale will be Saturday, but that’s just a guess.

Tickets for the Nation shows are $31.21. Yes, you read that correctly. Just over thirty bucks to see Prince play a club.

A friend saw the show in Philly a week or two ago and said it was completely sick.

Given that the world’s greatest live band, Marah, are playing at Iota Sunday night, those of you who know me can probably guess which night I’ll be seeing the Purple One.

Note: Doors for these shows are at 10 p.m., and the show starts at midnight.

– John Anderson
(“That shit was the MAD notes!”)