Crooked Beat Records: an Epicenter for Local Musicians and Music Collectors

Bill Daly at Crooked Beat
Bill Daly checks up on some of his vinyl merchandise. Photo by Tyler Sonnichsen

“This building’s magic,” Henry Rollins once told Bill Daly of the edifice that currently houses Crooked Beat Records on 18th Street in Adams Morgan.

Daly, the owner and operator of Crooked Beat for the past year and a half, has plenty of great stories to tell about his stores and his own experience as a music collector and fan, and his own surprises keep on coming. As it turns out, and Rollins was one of the first of many to point out to him, his building was once the original punk haven Madam’s Organ.

‚ÄúA lot of [DC hardcore] legends had their first shows upstairs,‚Äù said Daly, ‚ÄúBad Brains was even like the house band—they played every Monday night.‚Äù

Consistent with most venues that hosted punk bands (and invited them back, subsequently), the building itself was never in top shape, and the lower level, where the shop is located, is now an exhibition of maintenance problems. Between a few floods, one of which occurred last summer, measured approximately four inches deep, and cracked the paint job on the floor, as well as constant hydraulic seepage from Maggie Moo‚Äôs Ice Cream parlor next door, it‚Äôs a miracle that minimal amounts of their merchandise have been destroyed; even more so because their indie selection and specialization ranks among the finest in record stores in the East Coast. Continue reading →

Bursting the Bubble: Is Soderbergh’s latest predicting the death of the movie theater?

Steven SoderberghMy worst movie theater experience is still vivid in my mind: Loews in Georgetown, 28 Days Later, opening weekend, midnight showing with girlfriend (ex now, if you care to know). Oh, it should have been scary and tense, horrifying and brilliant, but no, it was aggravating. Two drunks reeking of whiskey sat to the right of us, one snoring and the other one punching him every five minutes and telling him to wake up. A kid in front of us played a game on his cell phone and felt the need to hold it up, as if I wanted to see his high score. And the chatter: at times I couldn���t even hear the dialogue. I left vowing I would never see another film at Loews in Georgetown again (a vow I���ve subsequently broken).

Of course, that was only part of a trend. I remember during a screening of Bad Santa watching a couple get into a hysterical screaming bout a few rows ahead. And let���s not even get into any film where there might be kids in the audience ��� Star Wars Episode I (which was unbearable enough alone) was absolutely miserable to sit through with a bunch of uncontrolled brats throwing popcorn and candy at each other and shouting out descriptions of the action (or what happened two minutes before because their little friends with little bladders had to loudly run to the bathroom).

Director Steven Soderbergh (you might remember he did Ocean���s Eleven and Traffic, oh and this little indie flick called Sex, Lies, and Videotape) has brought to life a novel concept: his latest film Bubble on Friday opens in theaters and is released on DVD and is available on satellite and cable TV. All media, all at once ��� an cinematic assault, you could say. Talk about this kind of marketing has been brewing for years, with theater to DVD timetables growing shorter every year, but Bubble goes all the way. And I���m left pondering, is that a good thing? Continue reading →

This Week In Music…

Picks for the week of Friday, January 27 — Thursday, February 2.

Far from heralding a lifeless winter show season, January has kicked more ass than Hurricane Isabel, with great shows almost every night. This week is no exception. Make sure and check our venue listings page for a more complete musical calendar.

Friday Jan 27 >>

Keller Williams is a Fredericksburg native who has exploded on the hippie circuit these last few years with his slap-coustic tape loops & 12-string fingerpicking. Keller’s touring now in support of his newest album, GRASS, a bizarre collection of “anything-but-traditional” bluegrass tunes. He’ll be at the Birchmere on Friday night. FREE MP3: “Goofballs” by Keller Williams

Brindley Brothers
Brindley Brothers
Ellis Paul
Ellis Paul

Soft Complex are the new new wave you’ve been waiting for. With synth and vocals reverbing all the way from Manchester, they manage to invoke a classic sound without sounding cheesy or retro. Soft Complex shares the State Theatre with locals Koshari, Paul Michel, and the Hard Tomorrows.

Brindley Brothers Luke and Daniel are playing their club Jammin’ Java on Friday, along with folk singer/songwriter Ellis Paul, one of the originators of the ’90s folk revival. FREE MP3: “Roman Candle” by the Brindley Brothers

The Cassettes describe themselves as “rock ‘n roll vaudeville inter-galactic western troubadors!” We have our own description of these steam punkers. They are playing the Iota Club & Cafe on Friday with Cateract and Kitty Hawk. FREE MP3: “Some Kind of Monster” by Kitty Hawk

The Bicycle Thieves are headlining at the 9:30 Club on Friday, after building up a strong following in smaller clubs around the District. Lead singer Jon Kaplan has won the Best Alt-Rock Vocalist at the Wammies two years in a row. Cedars and Nethers are opening the show.

The Mooney Suzuki
The Mooney Suzuki

The Mooney Suzuki play garage-punk with more energy than all the NYC “savior” bands put together. After signing to Columbia (gasp!) in 2003, the band moved to LA, cut the title track for School of Rock, and hooked up with legendary producers The Matrix for their latest release. They play the Black Cat on Friday night with Owls and Crows and Eyes of the Killer Robot.

Saturday Jan 28 >>

The Alphabetical Order is playing at the Velvet Lounge on Saturday; read our spotlight of the band here. They are playing with The X’s, The Saviors, and the Sex Slaves. FREE MP3: “Miracle” by the X’s

Herbie Hancock reformed his legendary group last year under the name “Headhunters 2005.” These proto-funk-fusion trendsetters made one of the best-known jazz albums of all time in the 70s; it’s sales fall just behind Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. The Headhunters are joined by Virtual Combo on Saturday at the State Theatre.

The Rosebuds
The Rosebuds

Saturday night also brings our PICK OF THE WEEK: The Rosebuds opening for Robert Pollard at the 9:30 Club. The Rosebuds are a married couple who signed to Merge Records instead of taking a honeymoon. They make beautiful harmonies. The Rosebuds remind me why I like indie-rock. It’s only fitting, then, that they are opening for indie-legend Robert Pollard, the former frontman of Guided by Voices, touring in support of his new LP, From A Compound Eye.

San Francisco’s most famous art-rock act Deerhoof is playing a special show at the Black Cat, joined by modern dance troupe Starter Set and screenings from Director and animator Martha Colburn. Kristin has all the details for you HERE.

Soft Complex
Soft Complex

Soft Complex play their second local show this week before heading up to NYC. If you missed them on Friday, catch them tonight at the more intimate DC9, where they play with The Guins and A Study In Her.

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists is playing a solo show at the Birchmere on Saturday, joined by singer/songwriter Laura Veirs.

Sunday Jan 29 >>

All that music and it’s only Sunday! Kick back and relax tonight with an evening of experimental electronica and IDM at the Black Cat. Hosted by DK from 302acid, this show will feature sounds from a wide spectrum of electronic artists such as Phatso, The Last of Us, Cedric, Slopes, D.A.R.K., Elijah B. Torn, Utenzil, and the Suburban Bather’s Digital Wasteland. Visuals are provided by DC VJ All-Stars.

Monday Jan 30 >>

Lucky Day has been building a buzz in the DC area with their brit-inspired pop. They are playing the Black Cat backstage on Monday night alongside Canadian Invasion. FREE MP3: “Rainy Days” by Lucky Day

Local hip-hop/go-go artist Cool Cee Brown is throwing a party at DC9 to celebrate the release of his new album Sinnerman. Joining him is a who’s who of underground hip-hop and jazz talent, including Dirty Water, W. Ellington Felton, Heron Gibran and Jamila

Wednesday Feb 1 >>

The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady

Say what you will about Target, but they have some great music in their commercials. While they’re no Raveonettes, Brooklyn’s The Hold Steady certainly know how to rock. They play the Black Cat on Wednesday night alongside Swearing at Motorists and Plastic Constellations.

The Seldon Plan are playing the Velvet Lounge on Wednesday, joined by Casual Occupation, the solo project of Gabriel Fry (The Alphabetical Order). Opening the show is Lucia Lie.

Building on the success of Matisyahu’s Christmas show, the 9:30 Club is bringing back the Hasidic hip-hop with Hadag Nahash, Israel’s most popular tribe.

Thursday Feb 2 >>

Finally, the Beatings play the Black Cat backstage on Thursday night. Pup Tent opens the show.