Smoking Popes at Nation Tomorrow

Here’s a great show we overlooked while doing “This Week in Music” presented by Mourning Star Association.

Smoking Popes photoSmoking Popes

SMOKING POPES
w/ Bayside, The Oranges Band, and Discover America
$10 in Advance, $12 at the Show
Thursday, March 2nd at Nation
Doors at 7pm
All Ages

Seven years after breaking up, seminal Chicago rock band the Smoking Popes are back together and touring to support their just released live album, Smoking Popes at Metro, which was recorded at their charity reunion show last November in Chicago.

Smoking Popes flyerThe Smoking Popes began playing throughout Chicago in 1991 and quickly developed a solid, loyal underground fanbase. Josh’s crooning vocals melded with the band’s energetic pop punk musical style, setting the group apart from other bands in their genre. The band eventually gained national attention, a deal with Capitol Records, and a spot on movie soundtracks such as Clueless and Tommy Boy.

By the time the group disbanded in 1998, the Smoking Popes had secured a small piece of pop-punk history, releasing three albums and sharing the stage with many legendary artists, from the Foo Fighters to Cheap Trick, the Violent Femmes to Morrissey.

The line-up for the band includes brothers and original members Josh Caterer (vocals, guitar), Matt Caterer (bass), and Eli Caterer (guitar) along with Rob Kellenberger from the band Duvall on drums.

“We’re looking forward to performing together again,” says Josh. “It’s been years since I’ve been on stage with both of my brothers. When we first talked about playing together again, I think we were all a little bit reserved. Our attitude was, ‘Ok, let’s just try it and see how it feels.’ But as soon as we started playing together, it was so much fun and felt really natural. If the show is half as fun as our practices, it will be great.”

Free MP3: “Writing a Letter” a rare track by Smoking Popes

GENREfication

I’m sure it began with the best of intentions. The rebellious child of Blues and Country, Rock & Roll was a complete departure from the Hit Parade. New, different, shiny, this music needed its own name. Then, like Protestants after the reformation, the splits just kept coming.

In the first wave of these changes, the new names made sense: Motown from the studio that produced the signature sound, Acid Rock from the drugs needed to enjoy the music, Disco for the place where you would hear and enjoy the music. With the exception of Prog Rock (Progressive Rock, the granddaddy of unclearly labeled music) most genre labels were straightforward.

The shift began in the 80s, when American pop culture went to high school and stayed there. The Breakfast Club, Saved by the Bell and other teen focused entertainment had the world thinking in terms of cliques, with clothing and music being the chief markers for identity. The pop tarts did their best Madonna impressions while the metal heads wore T-shirts emblazoned with flames, skulls and large angry fonts, which nicely complimented their unwashed hair. Alternatively, the new wave kids listened to the Smiths and wore their fan club buttons as badges of honor. New wave, referring to exclusively to music—not dreadful fashion mistakes—was the designation for music not in heavy rotation on MTV. The B-52s, The Violent Femmes and The Cure, having little in common, have been lumped together in this category. As with Alternative in the 90s, or Indie Rock today, it was essentially a catchall term for music outside the mainstream. The labels said more about the music than what it actually sounded like. Subsequently giving rise to the use of sub-genres. Continue reading →

This Week In Music

Picks for the week of Friday, February 24 — Thursday, March 2.

This week is a bit sparse here in the District. I think those seven snowflakes we had Wednesday morning scared everyone away. Nevertheless, check out our venue listings page for a more complete musical calendar.

Saturday Feb 25 >>

Pyramid is an eight-piece from North Carolina that plays experimental Americana. Two of their songs were featured in All the Real Girls, one of my favorite recent movies. They are playing tonight at the Warehouse Next Door, alongside three post-hardcore groups: Dance Danse El Capitan, Catalyst, and Mass Movement of the Moth. FREE MP3: “Monster in the Canyon” by Pyramid.

Sunday Feb 26 >>

Antelope
Antelope

Antelope never play shows anymore. But they’re playing this Sunday night at the Warehouse Next Door. If you’re interested in local indie-rock, you know this is a show you shouldn’t miss. Our PICK OF THE WEEK, the show is opened by Meneguar and Rahim, along with Recoupero, who are making their live debut. FREE MP3: “Game Over” by Antelope

We’ve slowly realized that Monopoli is one of the hardest-working bands in the area. These dark post-punkers are playing, strangely enough, at the Iota Club & Cafe, alongside Spiraling and the Making.

Wednesday March 1 >>

Faraday hates being likened to Death Cab for Cutie. It’s a facile comparison, but pretty acurate. This four-piece indie-pop outfit from Arlington plays the Black Cat on Wednesday, opening for Baltimore’s the Metal Hearts.

Thursday March 2 >>

Benevento-Russo Duo
Benevento-Russo Duo

I’ve been trying categorize the Benevento-Russo Duo since I first heard them last May. Um, there’s two of them. One plays the keys, the other drums, and they’re from Brooklyn. At first I thought they were a jamband, and I ignored them. Then I heard “Soba,” which sounded like shoegaze on speed. The band has full live shows available for download on their website, and will be playing the State Theatre on Thursday.

Remember Mary Lou Lord? She was on Kill Rock Stars in the mid-90s, did a couple songs with Elliott Smith, and was a lot friendlier to me than Ani Di Franco. Her major label debut, Got No Shadow has become a landmark of folk-pop. She plays the Iota Club & Cafe on Thursday, alongside Jon Kaplan of the Bicycle Thieves.

Dont Miss This Show! Be Your Own PET and Pash Tonight at Black Cat

Be Your Own Pet
be your own PET

BE YOUR OWN PET and PASH
LIVE TONIGHT AT BLACK CAT
1811 14TH ST NW DC
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21
9PM, ONLY $7

This may be your last chance to see them before they get huge. The Mudsugar crew will be there if you want to come by and say hello.

Be Your Own Pet Poster

be your own PET are a four-piece punk band from Nashville, Tennessee. So what, you say? How about this: in less than one year they’ve dropped four singles and recorded a soon-to-be-released full-length on XL Recordings, the musical home of M.I.A., the White Stripes, Dizzee Rascal, Devendra Banhart, the Prodigy, and Basement Jaxx. Rolling Stone named them one of the Top Ten Bands To Watch In 2006, and they’ve played SXSW and the Reading/Leeds and Glastonbury Festivals. Oh yeah, and at age eighteen, lead singer Jemina Pearl is the oldest member of the band. These kids impressed us so much we decided to sponsor their show at the Black Cat. Pash plays first, and has the perfect sound to complement the show. Tuesday’s line-up poses only one problem. Which lead singer is the cutest? They’re both our PICK OF THE WEEK.

The poster for this show was designed by El Jefe DesignCheck it out.

Free MP3’s: “Vacation” by Be Your Own Pet, “Birthday Song” by Pash

Edie! True Hollywood Story

Edie Sedgwick
Edie Sedgwick

Edie Sedgwick was a Warhol darling for a year. Since her death from an overdose of downers in 1971, she has fascinated generations as a pop culture icon. It’s fitting, then, that Justin Moyer chose her moniker for his drag-pop act. As he says, “[Edie] was a person who, at best, was famous for being rich and, at worst, was famous for being famous.” In his Edie Sedgwick incarnation, Moyer, who performs primarily with the DC band Supersystem (formerly El Guapo), incants irreverent lines about Hollywood celebrities, with a backdrop of glitchy electro bleeps from his iPod as a backup band.

With the scene-centric success of Supersytem, who are signed to indie powerhouse Touch and Go Records, one has to wonder why Moyer decided to dress in drag and perform songs like “Robert Downey Jr.” (Relapse, recovery!) and “Lucy Liu” (Girl power! Fight fight!). Edie provides an outlet that Supersystem does not, says the one-man band. “Edie’s a way for me to be a more confrontational performer, to experiment more with humor and alternative ways of performing that involve more direct interaction with the audience, a more vaudeville show. Supersystem is a little different than most, but we’re still a band playing our songs. This is not that at all. It’s got video projection.”

Multi-media is a large part of Edie’s set. “The failure of a lot of live hip-hop and electroclash is that it’s boring,” he says. “So let’s have this kind of visual thing going on that directly relates to the music, to keep people interested.” The spectacular nature of her live show certainly makes it hard to do anything but get involved. But Edie’s show isn’t for shock value. The chanted, repetitive words mask a commentary that lambasts not just Hollywood stars, but the the cultural institutions they uphold. “I don’t know if everyone’s interested in my opinions about all this shit,” admits Moyer. “I don’t even know if I want people to be interested. As long as you have a reaction, even if you hate it, as long as you remember it.”

Moyer bemoans the oversaturation of the music scene today. “I’ve just played with so many bands, and I respect them for getting out and doing it, but so many are just mediocre.” This notion drives him to Edie Sedgwick. “Our lives are short,” he says. “We can never ever be bored. Let’s do something we want to be doing. Let’s do something new, otherwise what is our existence but dull drudgery? If that’s me acting like an ass or making a fool of myself on stage, then so be it.”

Edie Sedgwick plays DC9 tonight, Monday, February 20th. Free MP3: “Sigourney Weaver” by Edie Sedgwick

This Week In Music

Picks for the week of Friday, February 17 — Thursday, February 23.

Hey DsCenesters. Between starting a new job, moving to a new apartment, and various Valentine’s “responsibilities,” this week has gotten the best of me. Almost. The city don’t stop though, and we’ve got a mess of great shows coming up. In the interest of my sanity, this week’s listings are trimmed to the essentials, rather than my usual who, when, and what to wear. Check our venue listings page for a more complete musical calendar.

Friday Feb 17 >>

The Veronicas are Jess and Lisa, a pair of identical twins from Brisbane, Australia. Their first single, “4ever,” is one indie-cover shy of being this year’s “Since U Been Gone.” The Veronicas play the 9:30 Club on Friday, joined by October Fall and the Jonas Brothers.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

I’ve been waiting four years to see Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and on Friday night the Black Cat brings my dreams to life. If you dig funk, if you’ve got soul, and most of all if you love to shake your ass, you cannot miss this Brooklyn-based nine-piece. The Dap-Kings play so tight they might snap, and “#1 Soul Sister” Jones recalls Aretha in her heyday. Cancel your plans, go to this show, and thank me in the morning. The Budos Band and the Ambitions are opening up.

Singer/songwriter Justin Jones is playing a CD-release party at the Velvet Lounge on Friday, in celebration of his new album Love Verses Heroin. John Francis opens the show.

Saturday Feb 18 >>

Detroit’s Electric Six have been gigging under different names for the last ten years. This is the one you’re sure to recognize. They play the Black Cat on Saturday night, with She Wants Revenge and Rock Kills Kid opening up.

Indie-pop five-piece Exit Clov hail from DC, and are playing DC9 alongside the Rewinds and the Positions.

Sunday Feb 19 >>

Paint It Black are core players on the current Jade Tree roster, and with good reason. Their melodic hardcore sound hails back to the genre’s golden age, when drummer Dave Wagenschutz and vocalist Dan Yemin played in bands like Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, and Good Riddance. Kill Your Idols and Richmond’s Cloak/Dagger join them at the Black Cat.

Monday Feb 20 >>

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have grown a fanbase across the indie spectrum since their debut in 1999. Coming out of San Francisco, they were heavily influenced by UK groups like Ride, the Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Their first album was accordingly shoegaze, but they picked up the college radio niche in 2003 with the slicker, edgier Take Them On, On Your Own They are touring now in support of their third full-length, last year’s Americana-inspired Howl. Eastern Conference Champions and Elefant open this show at the 9:30 Club.

Edie Sedgwick
Edie Sedgwick

If you enjoyed Supersystem’s show last month, check out Edie Sedgwick at DC9 on Monday. Front(wo)man Justin Moyer has always been known for his live show, but as Edie Sedgwick she finds a whole new way to express herself. Confused? Check back on Sunday for our featured interview: Edie! True Hollywood Story.

WAMA logo

Monday night is also host to the 20th Annual Washington Area Music Association Awards, or the Wammies. In their own words, WAMA is “an umbrella organization of Washington area musicians, concert promoters, lawyers, recording engineers, managers, graphic artists, and related businesses working together to address areas of common concern.” The awards take place at the State Theatre in Falls Church, VA.

Tuesday Feb 21 >>

Be Your Own Pet
be your own PET

be your own PET are a four-piece punk band from Nashville, Tennessee. So what, you say? How about this: in less than one year they’ve dropped four singles and recorded a soon-to-be-released full-length on XL Recordings, the musical home of M.I.A., the White Stripes, Dizzee Rascal, Devendra Banhart, the Prodigy, and Basement Jaxx. Rolling Stone named them one of the Top Ten Bands To Watch In 2006, and they’ve played SXSW and the Reading/Leeds and Glastonbury Festivals. Oh yeah, and at age eighteen, lead singer Jemina Pearl is the oldest member of the band. These kids impressed us so much we decided to sponsor their show at the Black Cat. Pash plays first, and has the perfect sound to complement the show. Tuesday’s line-up poses only one problem. Which lead singer is the cutest? They’re both our PICK OF THE WEEK. The poster for this show was designed by El Jefe DesignCheck it out. Free MP3’s: “Vacation” by Be Your Own Pet, “Birthday Song” by Pash

Wednesday Feb 22 >>

If you know bluegrass, you know Doc Watson. Birchmere, Wednesday night. ‘Nuff said.

Thursday Feb 23 >>

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult have only been gaining momentum since their debut in 1987. They play the Black Cat on Thursday, alongside industrial-dance contemporaries Cylab and Mindless Faith.

We’ve never promoted a show at Jaxx before, but Thursday is a can’t-miss show for loud rock fans. Dark Tranquillity are living legends of the Scandinavian Death Metal scene. Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden (how fucking metal is that?) in 1989, the band has seven releases to date. They are touring North America for four weeks. Fierce Allegiance, Catacylsmic Avatar, and the Devin Townsend Band open the show.

Revolution Records: Supporting the DC Music Scene

Nayan Bhula in the front room of his store, Revolution Records in Van Ness
Nayan Bhula in the front room of his store, Revolution Records
– photo by Tyler Sonnichsen

Van Ness-UDC is a bizarre Metro stop. Thousands of people pass in and out of it every day; the apartments in the neighborhood are among the most popular housing for young professionals in the district, and the city���s only public university hosts thousands of commuter students daily. Other than that, Van Ness offers no tourist attractions or utilities that one couldn���t get elsewhere. So, as Nayan Bhula and Fred Burton faced all of these questions upon opening Revolution Records, the good incentives won out.

���The biggest [positives] for us were the availability of this second-floor space, and the price,��� said Bhula. While still far from a steal, the property value would be much easier to maintain than that in more of a cultural hotspot like Dupont Circle or U Street. Regardless, Bhula and the Revolution staff of six have taken advantage of what they do have. The store���s 10% discount for anyone carrying a college ID, for example, has meshed well with the UDC commuters.

Despite the inevitable trials and tribulations that any independent music store faces, especially in a town like DC, Revolution has grown considerably in customer base and presence within the local music scene.

Bhula and Burton play together in local indie-rock trio Gist. On the legs of their latest album ���Diesel City,��� released under their own production company Red Stapler Records, the duo, along with bassist Finley Martin, have taken on the challenge of balancing their touring and promotion with running and maintaining the store. Continue reading →

This Week in Music…

Picks for the week of Saturday, February 11 ��� Thursday, February 16.

Sorry we’re late with this week’s picks—our “This Week in Music” writer, Ryan Kailath, is out of town and we had a little trouble picking up the slack. Don’t worry, he’ll be back next week. Make sure and check our venue listings page for a more complete musical calendar.

Saturday Feb 11 >>

Undertow Orchestra

Undertow Music has put together a unique combination of a few of their best singer/songwriters and they’re performing together on the same stage as The Undertow Orchestra. This superband features Vic Chesnutt, Mark Eitzel (of American Music Club), David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion), Will Johnson (of Centro-matic). Jesse Harris will be opening the show at IOTA Club & Cafe.

A couple of DC’s finest, Metropolitan and Greenland will be performing at Galaxy Hut.

Sunday Feb 12 >>

Britain’s Supergrass are coming to the 9:30 Club this Sunday. Read the FULL STORY HERE. Pilotdrift is opening the show.

Rolling Stone refers to Rory Block‘s music as, “Some of the most singular and affecting Country Blues…” She’s performing at The Barns at Wolf Trap this Sunday.

Monday Feb 13 >>

Wu-Tang
Wu-Tang

The first all-member Wu-Tang tour in years, featuring every living member, is coming to the 9:30 Club this Monday. The first show was sold out so they’ve added a second show which still had tickets availble at the time of this post. This is music history in the making as well as our PICK OF THE WEEK.

Tuesday Feb 14 >>

Brandi Carlile is making quite a name for herself and her “rootsy bell-clear voice”. She’ll be performing at Jammin’ Java this Valentine’s Day with the area’s own Gibb Droll at Jammin’ Java. Free MP3: “Fall Apart Again” by Brandi Carlile

Wednesday Feb 15 >>

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks are bringing their West Coast jive ‘n’ jazz to The Barns at Wolf Trap this Wednesday night. “Dan Hicks is fly, sly, wily, and dry.” — Tom Waits.

Thursday Feb 16 >>

DC’s own Alcian Blue is back on our list this week with a show at Black Cat. Also there that night will be Ceremony, and A Place to Bury Strangers.

There’s a jam packed line-up at DC 9 this Thursday lead by The Apparitions with Catfish Haven, These United States, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, and The Receiver at DC 9. Free MP3’s: “Electricity And Drums” by The Apparitions, “Madaline” by Catfish Haven, “The Business” by These United States, “House Fire” by Someone Still Love’s You Boris Yeltsin

Thursday will also be a happy day for Death Metal fans. In Flames, Trivium, Devil Driver, and Zao are at the 9:30 Club.

Supergrass Rides Road to Rouen Through DC on Sunday

Supergrass
Supergrass – photo courtesy Parlophone

Britpop was one of the most bizarre cultural phenomena to occur in most of our lifetimes. It attacked, circa 1993, with a massive wave of bands that issued a cluster of trademark albums and subsequently conquered the UK, and in select Gallagher-related cases, the US charts as well. However, certain bands, like Supergrass, releasing their sensational debut ���I Should Coco��� in 1995, caught the tail end, and so they found themselves clumped together with a movement that their frantic energy and sense of humor simply transcended. Most pointedly, they���ve survived a number of ���waves��� of British music, gained critical praise consistently through five albums, and most relevantly, amassed and maintained a dedicated audience over here. This Sunday night, they���ll be playing to the longtime faithful and newcomers alike in a much-anticipated show at the 9:30 Club.

Indeed, Gaz Coombes and the boys, despite being dubiously hailed as ���everyone���s second-favorite band��� and ���the world���s ugliest band,��� have been producing consistently vibrant and altogether unique British Rock music for more than ten years now. Some thought they were throwing in the towel with last year���s Supergrass is 10: The Best of 1994-2004 compilation. But, like the ���Grass has done so consistently, they threw in a hook (well, tons of hooks, in a different sense) last year with the intricate, expansive Road to Rouen. Of course they���re not throwing in the towel anytime soon. They���ve been around for more than ten years now, but Gaz Coombes still has yet to even turn 30.

According to accounts of their Road to Rouen tour thus far, the quartet���s been mixing in a healthy blast of punchy old numbers like ���Sitting up Straight��� and ���Sun Hits the Sky��� with plenty of the newer gems like ���St. Petersburg��� and ���Grace.��� Few know exactly which surprises the hirsute Oxford lads will be pulling out on Sunday night, but finding out will only be a fraction of the fun.

Considering Supergrass��� long-standing underlying fascination with both psychedelic and American Roots Music, Texarkana ambient avant-pop outfit Pilotdrift will be opening. Their website will completely blow your mind, if their music doesn���t already.

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Supergarass is playing the 9:30 Club this Sunday, February 12th. Doors are at 10 PM.