Category Archives: shows

The Very Small – The Worst Form Of Violence

This massive hurricane looks like it’s going to miss DC this weekend, which is great news for fans of live music shows and bad news for those who like wet excuses to stay in and “Netflix & chill” or whatever. Cap off this first October weekend with a trip to DC9 to celebrate the newest music video from rock band The Very Small. Robin Smith, Aaron Mann and Zack Be roped in esteemed music video director Nigel Lyons to create visuals for “The Worst Form Of Violence”, a brand new single release from their 2014 album Zoomed Way Out. The video combines vibrant colors that accompany the melodic powerpop riffs with haunting images of poverty and strife to eludicate the lyrics. Catch them anchor an all-DC music lineup this Sunday night with The Escape Artist and Boon.

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Song Premiere: “Big Dumb Hooks” by The Beanstalk Library


I’ve seen a lot of bands in my time diving deep into the DC music scenes, and there’s no mistaking that The Beanstalk Library is the friendliest. Bandleader Ryan Walker exudes natural charm and enthusiasm when performing that follows him offstage into post-show mingling. He’s also the rare example of a frontman lending his talent to other bands, playing with Justin Jones and Andy Zipf’s Cowards Choir. The Beanstalk Library’s lineup of keyboardist Joel Hicks, guitarist Brian Pagels, violinist Erin Ryan, bassist David Gassman and drummer Adam Neubauer have an affectionate performing chemistry that’s rare to see.

Apart from a one-off single “Whiskey Mountain” honoring the late Sean Meyers of Norman Rockwell, it’s been a couple of years since we tasted and digested the full length album The View From Here. After many months road-testing new material, TBL is nearly ready to drop a new EP, and Hometown Sounds is tickled pink to premiere the first single from it.

“Big Dumb Hooks” is a classic pop song with a driving beat and singalong chorus. Walker knows the power of a catchy melody and well-placed ooo’s, and this song really will sink its hooks into you as advertized. TBL makes well-crafted pop-rock music with deft songwriting, hard-hitting drums, full guitar/bass sound and flourishes from violin and keys for a mature sound that’s criminally underrated in DC these days.

As we mentioned on yesterday’s episode of our DC music podcast, The Beanstalk Library kicks off a show this Friday night September 25th at Iota, playing with a band from Boston called The Lights Out. Lead guitarist Adam Ritchie played in high school bands with TBL’s Brian Pagels and they haven’t shared a stage since 1999. Funk & soul party band Precautionary Measures finishes up the night. As with almost all Iota shows, tickets are only available at the door, so get there early!


Catscan! – Voodoo Dollhouse

Last week electronic rock duo Catscan! unleashed the second single from their unbelievably catchy full length album Challenger Deep, a generous pay-what-you-want download on their Bandcamp. Mason Shelby and Paul Tsiaperas still know how to do a proper single release in 2015, making a goofy music video for “Voodoo Dollhouse” with plenty of burning dollhouse footage, and a dance remix by Eric Randall with rapping from Height Keech. Furthering the generosity, both the remix and the original are available for further manipulation under a Creative Commons license, so other bedroom noodlers should see how far this earworm can go. Mark your calendars for Catscan!’s next live show on Saturday October 17th at the Velvet Lounge with Electric Grandmother, ShowPony and Aggressive Pedestrian.


The Grey A – Dumb Fool

Georgetown’s classy Americana-focused venue Gypsy Sally’s celebrates 2 years of music with an anniversary show this evening featuring Jim Lauderdale and Human Country Jukebox. But their intimate Vinyl Lounge space hosts another in their free Capital Americana series, tonight featuring a fantastic lineup that includes Uptown Boys Choir and The Grey A. In true Washington fashion, The Grey A’s single “Dumb Fool” speaks to the need for campaign finance reform as a precondition to tackling the big issues of the day. This slick music video, a classic noir tale of murder and mistaken identity, comes from NYC film maker Adio Ash of Impaired Films. See them tonight for free and grab their 2014 debut full length album My Country.


BRNDA – Snacks

Sometimes Dave wears a dress. Sometimes Leah wears a tie. Sometimes Johnny wears a full suit. Sometimes Alex wears a totally sweet hot pink blazer. BRNDA infuses the post-punk aesthetic with a hugely welcome dose of wackiness, as balloons, streamers and painted banners cover the debut music video for “Snacks” and render the well-known DIT venue Paperhaus almost unrecognizable. “It’s a party!” Dave howls, and BRNDA’s high-energy performances always make it party-time, with or without snacks. BRNDA’s new album Year of the Manatee is out now on Babe City Records, and their next show is at the newly relocated Bathtub Republic on Saturday September 19th with Puff Pieces, Positive No and Teen Liver.

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#TBT The Cowards Choir – Is This A Wrecking Ball

Here’s the thing about being a fan of local bands: the only thing constant is change. Local bands can come and go, change their names, lineups and style, sometimes before you even realize what happened. Casual music fans don’t have to worry about this so much with Walk The Moon or The Weeknd or whoever, but at the local level, all bets are off.

Andy Zipf’s talented quartet The Cowards Choir, with Ben Tufts, Adam Neubauer and Ryan Walker, came together by accident but quickly developed some powerful chemistry and one of last year’s best releases, the four song EP Cool Currency, which you can still download for whatever price you like at NoiseTrade. When people would ask me who was worth checking out in the DC music scene, I’d generally first steer them towards The Cowards Choir, and made them as many new fans as I could.

Sadly in 2015 things stalled for the band as they prepared material for an anticipated full length album. First percussionist Ben Tufts announced his imminent departure, and recently drummer Adam Neubauer followed suit. The last two shows featuring the original lineup are tonight at the Black Cat and Saturday at the annual Ben Tufts & Friends charity fundraiser at Jammin’ Java. While Andy Zipf will continue on both solo and with other supporting musicians, these are your last chances to see his finely crafted songs backed by two of the finest drummers in this town.

It’s #TBT so watch the excellent music video they made last year for “Is This A Wrecking Ball”. See you at the show.


Jonny Grave – Tear Me Down (Live at the Corcoran)

The mellowness of DC in the middle of August provide some excellent opportunities for local musicians. Tonight DC’s blues troubadour Jonny Grave headlines the prestigious 9:30 Club with support from Derek Evry & His Band of Misanthropes and Olivia Mancini & The Mates. Jonny, Derek and Olivia are three very different musicians who share a love of the city and its musical scene. If you don’t yet know them personally, you might be surprised at the level of enthusiasm these talented personalities are going to generate at DC’s finest venue tonight. For a Friday afternoon warm up, watch Jonny Grave perform “Tear Me Down”, from his 2013 solo album The Hammer, live at the Corcoran in the Salon Doré last year. See you tonight, obviously.



American Television – Optimist

A lot of concert goers in DC never make it past the usual well known spots like the 9:30 Club, Black Cat, DC9, etc. When one does decide to branch out and try something new, St. Stephen’s Church is a likely choice due to its scrappy DIY spirit and long punk rock tradition of hosting fundraisers for Positive Force and other organizations. The bands that typically play shows there are enthusiastic about their craft in infectuous ways, which leads me to the new DC pop-punk band American Television. Even though they only have one song up on Bandcamp, that didn’t stop them from making this music video for “Optimist”, a still-unreleaesd track from their forthcoming EP. The band’s unbridled excitement to play a show this Saturday 8/15 is obviously no joke as they practice, flyer well known DMV record shops and beef up at the gym. This killer all-ages Saturday night show includes Baltimore’s Canker Blossom along with locals Rememberables, Six Foot Machine and Boardroom Heroes.


Wylder – Sunstroke

Indie folk band Wylder are four young & talented men recently graduated from the University of Mary Washington. Now spread between Northern VA and points further south in the Commonwealth, the band they started in college as “Save The Arcadian” gears up for the release of their debut album with a single & music video for “Sunstroke”, a feel good folk tune with snappy violin and a singalong chorus that you can download for free right now. July saw Wylder make it to the finals in Jammin’ Java’s Battle of the Bands, so if “Sunstroke” is your new summer jam, don’t miss them compete against Jocelyn Faro, Port Harbour, Calm The Waters and Aztec Sun on Saturday August 21st!


Jack On Fire – Condos

Masters of saying the wrong thing at the right time, punk provocateurs Jack On Fire bring a long-awaited overdose of snark to the Fort Reno stage tonight. As long as the rain holds off, the season of outdoor shows draws to an all-too-early close before the August doldrums/mass evacuation. From their pay what you want download Greatest Hits Nov. 2014​-​Feb. 2015, littered with gems like “The NSA Has My Dick Pics”, “Andy Harris Needs To Smoke Some Weed” and of course “Cocaine (Will Turn You Into An Asshole)”, enjoy one full minute of JOF’s catchy single “Condos”.


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