This Week In Music…

Picks for the week of Friday, March 3 –- Thursday, March 9.

The 9:30 Club is kicking my ass this week. I might actually brave the awful line, ridiculous prices and sub-par sound system to catch these bands. If I can find a ticket, that is. Check our venue listings page for a more complete musical calendar.

Friday March 3 >>

Brazilian Girls photo
Brazilian Girls

I remember when Brazilian Girls played tiny bars in Brooklyn for a handful of disinterested hipsters. Now they’re playing SXSW, Langerado, and are nominated for the New Pantheon, a prestigious award whose nominating committee includes the like of Beck, Ben Gibbard and Elton John. They play a dance-tacular blend of electronica, jazz, reggae and classy lounge funk that can only be described as sexy. That lush at the end of your favorite bar every weekend? This is her favorite band. Their show at the 9:30 Club will be well worth the $25 they are charging. They might outgrow the venue soon. QUICK TIP: Exercise caution when google image-searching “brazilian girls.”

Saturday March 4 >>

The Subways strike me as a Malcolm McLaren project gone awry. Apparently they’ve been gigging since 2002, two years before their deal with Sire Records. These teenagers from the UK play pop-punk on the O.C. I guess you can’t knock ’em for making it; I sure wasn’t playing for 10,000 fans when I was eighteen. Their debut album, entitled Young For Eterntity, was just released in the states. It’s a clever title, until the band is fat, forty, and watching their glory days on VH1. Get to the 9:30 Club early and check out their opening band and labelmates, The Shys. They sound similar but, well, more honest somehow.

Will Hoge is headlining the late show at the 9:30 Club, with the fabulous power-pop five-piece Limbeck opening up. Will plays straightforward American rock from Nashville, TN.

Paul Michel
Paul Michel

Countering all this corporate music, Strike Anywhere is playing across U Street at the Black Cat. These Richmonders are so punk rock they don’t even have a working website. If you like your hardcore angry & political, this is the show for you. It’s a wonder these kids don’t live in a cardboard box under Union Station. With Honor and A Global Threat open the show.

Paul Michel reminds me why I like singer/songwriters. Like some of the best before him, he paid dues in a number of bands before going solo. Paul has been playing out for years, as a former member of two greate local bands, the Out_Circuit and the Hard Tomorrows. Catch him at the Galaxy Hut; he puts on a great show.

Sunday March 5 >>

Belle & Sebastian are playing two nights at the 9:30 Club, with the New Pornographers opening up.

Monday March 6 >>

Both Belle & Sebastian shows are sold out. I’m not going to explain this.

Tuesday March 7 >>

We can’t highlight Monopoli enough; they’ve been steady picks of the week since I took over this column. Catch them at the Black Cat with Spookey Ruben.

Wednesday March 8 >>

Asobi Seksu photo
Asobi Seksu

PICK OF THE WEEK: Asobi Seksu are the best thing to happen to shoegaze since Lost in Translation. They synthesize the best sounds that noise-pop has given us, from the Phil Spector girl-group vocal aesthetic to the Kevin Shields layering and incessant drones. Plus they sing in Japanese and English. Asobi Seksu sounds fresh in a genre that’s been stale since Loveless. Two if by Sea open this show at DC9, along with Stamen and Pistils. MP3: “Sooner” by Asobi Seksu

GoGoGo Airheart are from SoCal, but don’t let that scare you away. They play a dance-punk that hearkens back to the early 80s, or maybe New York in 2003. Catch them with tourmates Subtitle and the Jai-Alai Savant at the Warehouse Next Door. MP3: “Scarlett Johansen Why Don’t You Love Me” by the Jai-Alai Savant

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah took over the world last year, and they’re cocky bitches about it too. Our agent in Scotland heard Alec Ounsworth brag about how he outgrew the Black Cat and sold out the 9:30 Club in a week. You’re right, Alec, you’ve outgrown us. How does it feel to play the same stage as Matchbook Romance?

Thursday March 9 >>

Oh, Canada. That icy land to the north has blown through DC this Winter, with the Arts & Crafts family in especially full effect. Thursday night is no exception, when we see Emily Haines (of Stars and Broken Social Scene) play the 9:30 Club with her band Metric. I didn’t like their last album much, but who cares, really. “Combat Baby” makes it all worthwhile.

Kaki King
Kaki King

Girl guitar players are so hot. Especially when they play better than me. Most reviewers make a big deal of Kaki King‘s 5 foot stature. I’m more interested in her fingers, and the sounds they can produce. This chick is phenomenal, really. Keller Williams should be so bold. She plays the Iota Club & Cafe, a GREAT place to see this show, alongside Devon Sproule.

Pearls and Brass play bluesy roots-rock that sounds like watching Dazed & Confused. They are playing DC9 on Thursday, opening for Mudsugar faves Owls and Crows.

Wouldn’t you know it, the 9:30 Club oversold again. Thankfully, Thursday’s band deserves it. 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 selling out every venue along the way.

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