Category Archives: music

The Big Boom Thursday @ U St. Music Hall

TheBigBoom2014
The fine folks at DC’s funkiest label Fort Knox Recordings love throwing blowout bashes at U Street Music Hall on holiday weekends, and they are not about to let you down this weekend! Thursday night July 3rd from 9 PM to 4 AM the club hosts The Big Boom featuring local talent from Fort Knox Five and All Good Funk Alliance vs. Qdup, Canada’s DJ Stickybuds in his first ever DC appearance, and one of the reigning kings of nu-disco, Gigamesh! You don’t have to work on Friday, so don’t hold anything back! Advance tix are only $10 so make sure you aren’t shut out of this event! To shake off your Monday blues and build hype for the holidy, Rusty B and Frank C of All Good Funk Alliance crafted this Big Boom promo DJ that’s already shot to the top of Mixcloud’s charts. Facebook RSVP here!

AGFA presents "The Big Boom Promo Mix" by Fort Knox on Mixcloud

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Qdup – DC Funk Parade Mix 2014

Qdup DC Funk Parade final

Excitement is at a fever pitch for next Saturday’s Funk Parade in the U Street neighborhood. This day long music festival taps into DC’s rich history of funk music, which spans a continuity ranging from The Blackbyrds and the catalog of DC Soul Recordings to go-go to the party rocking of Fort Knox Recordings.

For your Friday desk-funking pleasure, DC’s own Jason “Jayclue” Brown aka Qdup (say it out loud, you’ll get it) drops a smoking DJ mix full of beats, soul and highlights from the FKR label including Empresarios, Nappy Riddem’s Mustafa Akbar, Flex Mathews the Handsome Grandson and Fort Knox Five. Immediately following the Funk Parade, FKR takes over U Street Music Hall for a FREE show from 7-10 PM featuring DJ sets from Qdup & Fort Knox Five, live reggae funk from Nappy Riddem, and legendary go-go from Experience Unlimited featuring Sugar Bear! How can this show be free! I have no idea. Is it next weekend yet?

Download this mix here!

Funk Parade BUILD 2 TALL

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Asheru – Mood Swing feat. Talib Kweli (Nappy Riddem Mix)

Hey DC, I got a hot joint for your Friday afternoon listening distraction. It’s great to see a tight-knit crew like the Fort Knox Recordings boys guesting, remixing and performing with each other, creating and maintaining one of the most interesting and cohesive scenes in the last few years. Saturday night H St. NE’s Rock & Roll Hotel hosts The Empresarios, Nappy Riddem and Asheru for a Winter Soulstice Party for the longest night of the year. To get you in the right mood, the Nappy Riddem duo of Rex Riddem and Mustafa Akbar updated Ash’s early 2000′s hit single Mood Swing featuring Talib Kweli into a drum & bass dance floor burner, and you can download and add this remix to your collection for free! Asheru is one of DC’s most underappreciated rappers, though that’s changing with the popularity growing of his full length album Sleepless In Soweto released last month. Tix are only $15, so grab them in advance and guarantee your Saturday night fun!

Here are the set times!
Doors 8 PM
Asheru 9 PM
Empresarios 10 PM
Nappy Riddem 11:30 PM

winter_solstice

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Screen Vinyl Image – Autumn Songs mix

SLDC-HTS-foremail
Hometown Sounds is almost 2 years old! We are teaming up with Showlist DC, the best concert listing aggregator in town, to throw a party! Thursday December 12th make your way to Tropicalia at 14th & U Streets NW to see Heavy Breathing, The Jet Age and Tereu Tereu, plus DJ sets from Screen Vinyl Image and yours truly! Buy your tickets in advance for only $10 through ShowClix and RSVP to the Facebook event.

Screen Vinyl Image just released a new DJ mix on SoundCloud for your travels from autumn to winter. Stream it while you pretend to work today, or download it for your long drive to eat turkey with your family. Happy Thanksgiving DC!

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Fresh Tracks! “Gone” by Humble Fire

humble fire

It’s time for another round of Fresh Tracks!, where Hometown Sounds brings you the very latest in noteworthy music emerging from the District. “Gone”, the first single from dream rock quartet Humble Fire just went live on the group’s Bandcamp page this afternoon, so I’d be hard pressed to find anything much fresher to close out the work week.

Following a 10 second straight ahead sprint of distorted guitar chords and snare drum rolls, the rhythm section busts down the door with an adrenaline-prodding stomp before ducking back down to make way for vocalist Nefra Faltas’ syncopated warbles. Guitarist Dave Epley’s clean, heavily delayed guitar coils throughout the song’s verses before returning to the hurried dash of the intro riff.

“Gone” embodies a noteworthy release for a couple of reasons. First, the track showcases the band’s ability to establish a strong groove you might even characterize as danceable (an uncommon feat for a rock band). Second, this represents the first publicly available studio recording of Humble Fire, which is interesting given that the band has been performing live for some time. However, their previous lack of recordings actually contributed to their sense of mystery and emphasized the importance of catching the band’s blissed out live show, which I’ve had the pleasure of taking in on several occasions.

Humble Fire performs tomorrow (10/26) at Knoxville, Tennessee’s Preservation Pub, but are currently in between performance dates in the DC area. So enjoy this while they’re…”gone”.

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Fresh Tracks! – Uptown Boys Choir / “One More Good Thing”

by Tony Porreco

de Souza Bass

Welcome back to Fresh Tracks, where we nudge the spotlight toward the very latest in noteworthy DC music. Today’s Fresh Track is “One More Good Thing”, the exciting new single from Uptown Boys Choir.

Multi-instrumentalist Kevin de Souza writes, records, and performs songs under the moniker of Uptown Boys Choir. If you find yourself at an Uptown Boys Choir show and find yourself wondering whether or not there’s a backing band, don’t be mistaken: There is, and guess what? You’re in it.

“The idea is that the audience is the choir. The goal is for everyone to be part of the show,” says de Souza. With a hollow bodied electric guitar and sparse percussion (only a raised wooden platform for stompin’, and a set of ankle bells affixed to his right leg), de Souza teaches the crowd the backup vocal parts to his songs. The effect of his approach forms a unique, inclusionary bond that functions to unite performer and audience.

We first featured Uptown Boys Choir on the Hometown Sounds podcast this past April with the quiet, contemplative track “This City”. In the months since, Choirmaster de Souza has continued write and record, in addition to getting out to play the occasional show and direct the masses in song. But now he’s ready to show you what he’s been working on, a new single entitled, “One More Good Thing”.

Uptown Boys Choir - One More Good cover art

Arriving at Sonic Sweets Recording (Beltsville, MD) last winter with just the first two lines of a chorus written, de Souza developed the song slowly from the bottom up over several months of scattered recording sessions with Virginia Coalition’s Jarrett Nicolay (guitar, piano) and Scott Robinson (drums, mixing, production), “One More Good Thing” is a true pop gem with a full-bodied, sparkling arrangement.

Sonic Sweets

The first element on the cut is de Souza’s reverbed voice, alongside the attention-hijacking chatter of short drum rolls played on improvised percussion and the light chop of some electric guitar chords. But 15 seconds in, the sounds that suggest a breezy reggae or beach rock number are deftly swapped out in favor of a stout rhythm section and crisp production.

What follows from the second verse onward is a truly delectable palate of sounds and instrument choices suggesting a cheerful stroll through a candy-coated aural landscape. Between the glockenspiel that dots the song’s progression and the pleasant quarter note thunk of an upright piano, it’s really the kind of song that wouldn’t feel out so of place on a quirky Fox Searchlight indie comedy.

When asked about the song’s lyrical narrative, de Souza provided an amusing take as to what’s going on in “One More Good Thing”. “

The song’s open ended, but it’s sort of a plea for someone to consider the potential of a relationship when they’re finding themselves soured on love. The way I’d describe it is of a girl whose dog has just died, and every day she walks by a pet store, where there’s this really cute puppy who’s always trying to get her attention. Then one night, the girl ends up getting mugged and the puppy breaks out of the pet store, transforms into a big German Shepherd, and rescues her before returning to the store. And the next day, she buys the puppy.

De Souza is hopeful yet pragmatic about where he’s heading with future Uptown Boys Choir material “I want to write songs that can work with one person on a guitar or an eight piece band… but I do hope that [Uptown Boys Choir's] music is tied together by a more optimistic spirit than the music I wrote when I was younger.”

De Souza next next performs on Saturday September 28 at Foundation Gallery and Liveroom in Kensington, Maryland as part of Justin Trawick’s roving singer/songwriter series, The 9.

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Fresh Tracks! These Future Saints / “Blackjack”

Fresh Tracks! – These Future Saints / “Blackjack”
by Tony Porreco
TFS guitars
Welcome back to another installment of Fresh Tracks!, where we at Hometown Sounds present you early access to some of the best in soon-to-be-released D.C.  music. Today’s fresh track is a cheery little number called “Blackjack” from charming up and comers These Future Saints.

At first playback, you might be skeptical and regard the opening guitar riff as silly, but when the full band kicks in, it actually reveals itself as part of a fun set of interlocking machinations against the second guitar and drums, with a sound that quickly heads into the territory of some light dance rock. (Who new dance rock could be light?)

Singer Andrew Gaddy is actually one of the better vocalists I’ve heard lately from the DC scene: There’s a sweet, choirboy feel to his singing voice that’s really kind of adorable, which proves in keeping with his band’s somewhat softer approach to indie rock. Concerning the song’s lyrical content, Gaddy chronicles some tender escapades with a certain special someone.  (Additional props for the hometown imagery when he suggests, “Let’s take a trip to Logan Circle, we’ll get out of line”). Be sure to stick around through the end of the cut, as the number closes with a super fun coda that approaches the lively guitar pop of Phoenix’s early career, or some MDMA-enhanced Franz Ferdinand.

These Future Saints perform this Friday at IOTA (9/6) with Classified Frequency (who do some seriously layered, everything-but-the-kitchen sink pop punk) and our favorite army of genre-busters M.H. and His Orchestra. The event is also a release show for These Future Saints’ new EP Ellerslie Ave, available for purchase at the show or online starting Friday.

These Future Saints, EP release show flyer

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Fresh Tracks! Pentamon – Among The Thugs

PENTAMON - Among The Thugs
DC’s history with EDM, electronic dance music, has mostly ranged from deep & soulful house music (Sunday nights with Sam The Man Burns) to aggressive and atmospheric drum n bass. The dark, repetitive, sometimes minimal stylings of techno have ferociously devoted adherents but remains mostly underground. Recently U Street Music Hall has devoted more deck time to techno, and the mysterious producer PENTAMON is cranking out new tracks to worldwide acclaim. The initial PENTAMON release Nite from earlier this year is now joined by a two song EP called Among The Thugs, released today on Teenage Riot Records. The title track brings peak time dance floor power, while the b side Skywarp simmers with growling basslines and a repetitive “belch” synth. Mark your calendar for Saturday September 7th when PENTAMON works his dark magic at the 9:30 Club Backbar with special guests Sami Y and Pat Jagla. If you don’t already know PENTAMON’s hidden identity, a quick spin around Google easily reveals it, but wouldn’t it be more fun to enjoy the surprise?

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Fresh Tracks! – The Dead Women / Vier

Fresh Tracks! – The Dead Women / Vier
by Tony Porreco

Rock n Roll Hotel
Welcome to Fresh Tracks, a new column where we here at Hometown Sounds highlight the latest in noteworthy releases from DC artists.

For the first installment of Fresh Tracks we present Vier, the debut studio release from punk dynamos The Dead Women. German for the number “four”, the EP’s title embodies a clear reference to Vier’s four songs. But the word is pronounced “fear”, so we can only wonder if there’s any relationship between the way you say the album title aloud, and The Dead Women’s dark, nervous punk rock. Vier will be available for streaming exclusively here at Hometown Sounds for its first two days in the world, but will be available for download at the group’s Bandcamp page beginning on August 14th. Enjoy!

TDW Vier Cover

Recorded and mixed by Michael Dawson at Elohino Productions.
Cover art and photograph by Nancy McInerney.
Written and performed by The Dead Women.

1. “Trouble Breathing” 
2. “Arms and Legs” 
3. “Summer” 
4. “I Am Delusional” 

About the Album
All of Vier was written during ’11 and ‘12 (the first year following the band’s formation), but previously existed only in the form of rougher demos. Wanting to document some of their earliest material with a strong set of recordings, The Dead Women found themselves driving north to Lincoln Park, New Jersey this past April to work with Michael Dawson at Elohino Productions. (Mark Pry, drummer for The Dead Women, met Dawson during a period when they were both freelance contributors for Modern Drummer Magazine.)

Vier
begins with “Trouble Breathing”, a track based on a choppy, syncopated guitar riff and a brooding set implying a narrative of finding oneself pitted against the odds. The verse’s vocal melody and drums fit neatly inside the space carved out by guitar parts, resulting in a bumpy rhythm that achieves the sonic equivalent of rolling over bumpy terrain. It’s the number vocalist/guitarist Mark McInerney says regularly evokes the biggest response when the band plays the DC club circuit.

“Arms and Legs” and “I Am Delusional” both channel the aggressiveness and zip of punk standard bearers such as Bad Religion and Social Distortion, but with the twist of a sound that eschews these bands’ domineering guitar crunch in favor of tones with more fuzzy mid range.

The one real curveball on Vier is “Summer”, a lilting 3/4 ballad whose lyrics pair recollections of relational frustration with the observation of how the heat of the months can feel like an insufferable eternity. This unlikely pairing of experiences function as a poignant reminder of how simultaneously experiencing multiple life stressors can be so much worse than running into them independently of one another.

Despite its brevity, Vier is a release that doesn’t skimp on the details of a good recording, whether it’s the extra texture of the acoustic guitar that springs up in the verse of “I Am Delusional” or McInerney’s layered vocals (either doubled or harmonized), which are spread tastefully over the EP, and lend the tracks a distinct bite.

Pinch

Concerning what’s next for The Dead Women, the release of Vier is really just the start of a continued flurry of activity for the band. They’ve booked studio time at Beat Babies Recording Studio (Woodstock, MD) for 8/31 and 9/1, where they plan to punch out a live recorded full length. On the subject of differences between the tracks on Vier and the songs the band plans to record next, according to McInerney, you can expect an even heightened emphasis on time signatures (one of the songs is in 5/4!), dynamics, and tempo. “[These] are all important factors in my songwriting now because I know we’re capable of doing it well. Earlier on it was more about writing a catchy tune.  And that is what’s reflected in this EP.”

A week after their recording session, they’re slated to perform at the 35th Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival alongside other prominent DC acts such as Ugly Purple Sweater, Asheru, and Paperhaus. In the more immediate term, catch them this Wednesday at DC9 with Möbius Strip, opening for Austin, TX indietronica act The Octopus Project. Also in the meantime, be sure to stop by AdMo’s The Black Squirrel on Sunday evenings, where the band curates and hosts an excellent and increasingly popular live music series.

TDW DC9 Poster

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DJ Set @ Comet Ping Pong Thursday night

Fuzzy Logic, one of DC’s finest music blogs, hosts a stacked lineup of psychedelic punk noise this Thursday night at Comet Ping Pong with DC’s Thee Lolitas, Philly’s Harsh Vibes and Ttotals from Nashville. And if that ain’t enough for you, your humble Hometown Sounds DJ will spin some of DC’s newest and most classic sonic insanity. Get there at 9 and bring $10 for the bands.
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