Monthly Archives: April 2013

New Releases from Vandaveer, Taylor Carson & Fort Knox Five

Today marks the release of hot new albums by three of Hometown Sounds’ favorite local musicians.

Oh, Willie, Please… by Vandaveer
Oh, Willie, Please
The duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin should be well known to everyone in DC. In addition to making award-winning videos, their clear and assured vocals quiet a chatty room more than anyone else. Their latest effort is a collection of old-time murder ballads, more bleak than previous efforts but still musically spot-on. Pick this release up on their webstore on FLAC for only $1 more!

With Innocence by Taylor Carson
With Innocence
Taylor Carson is a singer songwriter with a captivating voice and a low-key, honest style. He’s toured with Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, Edwin McCain, and just the other night opened for Carly Rae Jepsen at a fundraiser hosted by President Bill Clinton. His new album With Innocence, the first in three years, fills out his sound with a full band and guests Marc Roberge, Andy Poliakoff and Stephen Kellogg. Come out to Iota Saturday night for the album release show!

10 Years by Fort Knox Five
10 Years
Has it really been 10 years since I was buying early FK5 singles at DJ Hut? That midtempo funk groove was just what I needed as I learned how to spin vinyl just as that artform was overtaken by MP3s. Jon Hovarth is the head of both Fort Knox Five and their strong local label Fort Knox Recordings, putting out fantastic releases by See-I, Nappy Riddem, Empresarios, All Good Funk Alliance and more. Fort Knox Five’s DJ sets, regularly appearing at U Street’s Tropicalia, are a funky, feelgood breath of fresh air from the other nearby clubs that are still spinning Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style. Their new retrospective collection 10 Years Of Fort Knox Five includes a tasty selection of hits from their 2009 debut album Radio Free DC and other assorted and remastered singles, including the brand new track Stand Up.

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Wheelie – Right Before Your Eyes video

Tonight synthpop band Wheelie close out a series that I was previously unaware of, the Silver Spring Town Center‘s Twilight Tuesdays. The April series has featured bands of various genres in a locale not widely known for hosting live music, apart from the mighty Fillmore. Watch today’s video, Right Before Your Eyes, and you’ll understand Wheelie’s playful and inventive spirit.


Live This Week: GET FREAKY with The North Country, Black Masala & Adam Friedland, hosted by Jamel Johnson @ The Dunes

by Tony Porreco


a.) Music from The North Country / Black Masala
b.) Comedy Performances by Adam Friedman & Jamel Johnson
c.) Art Installation by Matt Hollis

When: Thursday May 2nd @ 7 PM

Where: The Dunes, 1402 Meridian Place, NW

the north country black masala

I’ve got a real soft spot for shows that unite different types of musicians, artists and performers under one tent. First, they expose audience members to performers and art forms they likely wouldn’t seek out on their own (I don’t typically make plans to check out a photography exhibit or see some slam poetry, but if it’s part of a show, I consider it an added bonus.) Second, “act diversity” frequently results in a superior audience experience, as show-goers are engaged via different communication mediums, and as a result, attendees in turn experience an enhanced sense of inclusion and involvement.

Said more simply, only so much interaction takes place between a band and an audience, and supplementary acts such as stand up comedy and spoken word story telling are cool in that they diminish the communicative gap between audience and performer, and promote an inviting sense of community.

If you’re picking up what I’m putting down, think about heading to The Dunes this Thursday for an event sporting an especially eclectic line-up. Psych-twang favorites The North Country team up with Black Masala, the oversized (Member Count: 9!) Eastern European-flavored gypsy ensemble with a couple of local comedians and 52 O Street artist Matt Hollis, with a brand new art installation.

I’ve been spending some time with Hollis’ work this afternoon, and I’m pretty drawn to his sculptures, which have a feathery, piñata vibe to them, and the vibrant colors you’d associate with the suspended Mexican candy repositories.
gushmatt_hollis_pinata 2

Concerning the yucksters, Adam Friedman is a veteran of Brandon Wetherbee’s comedic talk show/podcast You, Me, Them, Everybody, and the host of live bizarre sketch show Funny Moms, both of which have become staples of the DC comedy scene. Jamel Johnson, a colleague of Friedman, will serve as evening’s emcee: Just watched some bootlegged video of him performing at RFD. He’s got a boisterous style and a great onstage presence; I smirked.

This is a unique event with a great lineup of seasoned local performers. Everyone looks for excuses to start their weekend a little early. Here’s yours.

RDGLDGRN – Million Fans video

Hope you had a beautiful and musical weekend DC. Here’s a hot video from Dave Grohl-approved hip-hop rockers RDGLDGRN to ease you into another work week. Million Fans comes from the EP Red Gold Green, definitely one of the most fun releases DC’s had so far this year. Be on the lookout for their first mixtape dropping very soon!


Stephen Redhead – DTAMMY video

Don’t check out for the weekend quite yet, DC. Here’s a new video from rapper Stephen Redhead, his freestyle Don’t Talk About My Moms Yo over an instantly recognizable MF DOOM instrumental. The opening text bits are a bit silly and indulgent, but the lyricism is always strong.


Drop Electric – Little Sister video

Drop Electric make music that works as both a film score and a loud and captivating live performance. They fully embrace the creation of music videos and perhaps tailor their sound to fit in a cinematic presentation. While we patiently await their second album Every Day Is Your Last to magically appear on their Bandcamp page, today they released a brand new music video for Little Sister, the first single from that upcoming album. Keep watching this melancholic and creepy video until the end! Don’t miss their next live show at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Sunday May 19th.


Live Picks! With Tony Porreco: Black Hills, The Mean Season, & Badknight at Velvet Lounge

Live Picks! with Tony Porreco


Who: Black Hills, The Mean Season, Badknight

Where: Velvet Lounge

When: Friday April 26, 9 PM

Song You Must Hear Today:  “Quiet Ghosts”

I’m incredibly curious to see Black Hills live this Friday, and for so many reasons.  The outfit is the electro-pop project of audio production mastermind Aaron Estes, who sounds like a pretty interesting guy himself.  1. The dude teaches trapeze.  2.  He also one of the sound guys at the Black Cat, so I feel like I already have some kind of connection to the man, as he’s undoubtedly been responsible for the sound at dozens of shows I’ve been to at that venue over the years.

The project’s one EP, Black Gold, was released in October of 2011, and contains a scant four tracks.  That’s not a slam on the EP, as each song is of an immensely high caliber.  First cut “In My Dreams” sounds less like an album opener in that the listener is immediately dunked into the twirling interplay of cycling acoustic guitar arpeggios and chirping keyboard lines before Estes’ vocals make an abrupt entrance.  But the real fun begins at the 30 second mark when Estes turns on the synth-jacuzzi hot tub.  “Quiet Ghosts” has all the electronic squalls and jittery percussion sounds of late aughts-era Of Montreal.  Then there’s “Glass”, whose big beat/creepy-cool intro simply oozes cool.

I’m also excited to see how one guy’s bedroom project gets transformed into a live act, a la chillwave big boys Toro y Moi.  The act’s Facebook page lists 6 other musicians being involved in the live execution of Black Hills.  Now, I have no clue how many of those will be in tow on Friday, but Black Hills makes pretty layered music, so I doubt the extra manpower will go to waste.

In sum, everything I know about Black Hills leaves me feeling teased from afar.  I’m really looking forward to Friday’s show because (a.) I’ll get to hear at least a few new Black Hills songs and (b.) Estes’ development in the last year and half since Black Gold will be on display.

Last night, I almost let my curiosity get the best of me.  Almost.  A couple of weeks ago, Estes performed at The Hamilton as part of Brightest Young Things “DC Emerging Artists” showcase and someone shot some video of Black Hills’ set.  Intrigued, I clicked the play button.  An ad began to play before the video started, so I had a moment to consider the ramifications of what I was about to do.  Did I really want to eat from the Internet’s Tree of Knowledge, glimpse the future, and spoil my Friday night show experience?  NO.  I Xed the vid, and went back to my Buzzfeed photo reel of dogs being bad at hide-and-seek.

Note: Local three piece The Mean Season headlines the show this Friday.  They play contemplative, mellow female-fronted indie rock that’s quite tasty (I saw them in March), and their drum kit includes an empty Jameson bottle.

Paperhaus – Helicopters video

Indie rock stalwarts Paperhaus, deep into their Kickstarted tour, just released a brand new music video for Helicopters, the lead off track of their EP Lo Hi Lo that doesn’t come out for another agonizing month. Their close ties to the DC scene manifest in this charming video, from the extras in the party scene to the grand cameo by Andrew Grossman of The North Country to the Paperhaus DIY venue itself. Show your continued support of these house show hosting gents by picking up advance tickets to their hometown show at Rock & Roll Hotel on June 7th with hot hot openers Shark Week and Young Rapids.


The Incorrigibles – One Regret video

Here’s a new video from poppy rock band The Incorrigibles. One Regret comes from their recently released debut EP On My Own, and features a drive into DC from the VA burbs, a drive I have made probably millions of times. Well, it feels like millions anyway.


Podcast for April 22nd, 2013

Right-click to Download

Apologies about audio glitches in the original upload. All fixed now!

Featuring Live Picks columnist Tony Porreco!

Middle Distance Runner – Cherry Blossom Bop
Vandaveer – Henry Lee
The Stick Mob – Saving Grace
Foozle! – Best Friends
Catscan! – Au Naturale
Caz & The Day Laborers – Grateful
Exit Clov – Unset The Sun
Black Hills – Glass
Flo Anito – Work
Uptown Boys Choir – This City
We Were Pirates – Sunday Paper

Or listen on SoundCloud:

Subscribe to the Hometown Sounds podcast in the iTunes Store