Monthly Archives: June 2013

Congo Sanchez – A Year Thus Far

There are a lot of great DC music shows to see tonight, including Paint Branch at Comet Ping Pong, Justin Trawick at Iota, Young Summer at Jammin’ Java, Heavy Breathing at Black Cat and Margot MacDonald at Lubber Run Amphitheater in Arlington. I love you if you see any of them. But if you’re unsure what to check out, my pick of the night is the amazing lineup of Black Masala, Congo Sanchez and The Good Thing at H Street NE’s Rock & Roll Hotel.
The Good Thing are a dedicated and dynamic new funk band that will get the party rolling instantly. Here’s a free download from their recent EP Get Funky.

I admit, I am a sucker for New Orleans brass bands like Rebirth, Stooges and The Hot 8. We may not have any bands in DC that fit that particular mold (yet!), but Black Masala scratches that itch for me nicely. They bring a gypsy influence to their high energy shows, and I could not be more excited to check this out tonight.

And finally, our video feature of the day comes from Congo Sanchez. Best known as the drummer for Thievery Corporation, he turns electronic music performance around by featuring live drums instead of preprogrammed drum machines. Flex Mathews, the most versatile rapper in DC, adds a crucial element to the live show. In this video Congo Sanchez reminisces of the first year of his new band’s forming, performing and touring, and what the future holds.


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Drop Electric – Brooklyn’s Nightmare video

Every weekday on Hometown Sounds we feature a DC music video, because we love music videos and don’t think they get the exposure they deserve these days. Some days I know exactly what video to play, and get to write the post casually in advance. Some days a new video comes through the Twitter or Facebook feeds and I have to jump on it immediately. Drop Electric, prolific kings of DC music videos, just posted brand new visuals for Brooklyn’s Nightmare, an older song from their FREE debut album Finding Color In The Ashes. This creepy short film about love gone wrong comes from David Ashton and Sean Sonnenburg of Orange Line Film and Sequoia Pictures Production. Mark your calendars for Drop Electric’s next show Saturday July 20th at the Black Cat Mainstage.


The Dismemberment Plan – The Ice Of Boston (Live at 9:30)

DOMA and Prop 8 are gone and many many people in DC are celebrating further progress towards equality for all. In danger of getting lost amongst the avalanche of tweets is the news that DC music legends The Dismemberment Plan will release their first album of new material this fall in 12 years. On October 15th, you can grab a copy of Uncanny Valley, with new songs test-driven live at special reunion shows over the last year. If you’re new to town or weren’t paying attention to DC indie rock in the late 90s, you might not know what you’ve missed out on so far. So here’s a live video of Travis Morrison, Eric Axelson, Jason Caddell and Joe Easley performing the classic song The Ice Of Boston at the 9:30 Club back in January 2011. Get excited!


Wale feat. Sam Dew – Love/Hate Thing video

The day is finally here! Wale‘s much-anticipated new album The Gifted drops today. Did you see the prominent feature on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post by Chris Richards? The most exciting breakout star from DC in years getting his due, including a massive sold-out show at the Howard Theatre that blew up my Twitter feed Sunday night. Here’s a brand new video for the soulful, jazzy jam Love/Hate Thing featuring Sam Dew.


The North Country – Sharing Our Alone video

The North Country bring an understated twang sensibility to indie rock in a way that’s refreshing and fun. Lead singer Andrew Grossman and bandmates have built on the success of last fall’s debut album You Can Never Go Home Again with many shows (including ours!) and now a brand new single, Sharing Our Alone. This Saturday night the talented gents celebrate with a Black Cat Mainstage show alongside headliners Spirit Animal and a new project from Paperhaus’s John Di Lascio called Johnny Fantastic. You want to hear this new single already? Here’s the music video!


Live Picks! with Tony Porreco: Kitchen Noise @ Velvet Lounge

Live Picks! with Tony Porreco

Kitchen Noise band shot
Who: Kitchen Noise / The Lawsuits / Birthday Punches
Where: The Velvet Lounge
When: Thursday, June 27
Song You Must Hear Today: “All In One” 

Kitchen Noise, the musical project of Cory Foley-Marsello, makes sleepy music.  Easy now, this isn’t an insult. Rather, Kitchen Noise fits comfortably alongside the ranks of other excellent artists such as Megafaun and Marissa Nadler who drape their quiet folk songs in imaginative, dreamy textures.

According to Foley-Marsello, Kitchen Nose was started as a studio project and “the fruit of throwing lots of stuff at a wall and coming away with some songs.” Ceramics, the project’s sole release, appeared last August via Bandcamp. It didn’t receive much in the way of immediate attention, which is a complete shame, because this is a truly gorgeous and sprawling full length album. In the album’s first 20 seconds, organ chords meet a handful of dancing notes from an electric guitar before being shoved out of the way by a wild guitar riff, nimbly picked acoustic guitar, some backwards-looped sound effects, and a thumping rhythm section.

This formula of a song growing from modest beginnings (most often, a repeated guitar arpeggio) and towards a multi-layered soundscape is one that comprises much of Ceramics, and it’s a winner. Most of the tracks are grounded in gentle, contemplative folk rock, but there are plenty of pop elements (especially in the album’s first several songs), such as the friendly handclaps on “All In One” or “Brand New Names” with its stuttering, hypnotic drum beat.

I’m especially curious to see Kitchen Noise because this Thursday marks the act’s first show of 2013. Foley-Marsello has assembled a four-piece band who has steadily been working on adapting the Ceramics material for live performance, in addition to writing new songs.

How this is going to sound live isn’t easily predictable, so join me this Thursday at the Velvet Lounge for what easily promises to be the most intriguing show of the week.

Kitchen Noise Ceramics Cover

Nayas – Batalle video

Sadly, there aren’t many more chances left to see latin reggae rockers Nayas live before they take an indefinite hiatus next month. They’ll be anchoring the DC music portion of Saturday’s LUMEN8Anacostia kickoff celebration along with Hometown Sounds faves Black Masala and The Funk Ark, curated by our friends at Listen Local First. Here’s the music video for Batalle, from the 2010 Nayas Sampler EP, shot at their home base Bossa in Adams Morgan. Have a fantastic weekend DC!


Black Dog Prowl – No Robots video

Hard rockers Black Dog Prowl headline a late show this Saturday night at Vienna hotspot Jammin’ Java. If you don’t know them yet, the new video for their latest single No Robots will introduce you nicely. It’s all about the dangers of dating too many people at once, especially when they all happen to be in a band together.


Honest Haloway – What I Leave Behind video

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about Fête de la Musique, the blowout party taking place this Saturday at Georgetown’s newest hotspot Malmaison, from 2 PM to 3 AM. The Alliance Francaise continues France’s musical tradition on the summer solstice with a huge lineup of 12 great acts throughout the day, all for the low low price of free (before 10:30 PM). Some Hometown Sounds faves are booked for this party, including Arthur Loves Plastic, Flo Anito and Honest Haloway. Here’s a beautiful music video (SFW this time) from the electronic music duo for What I Leave Behind, from their FREE debut EP The Towns.


lowercase letters – Can’t Won’t Rush video

Alphie Starr and John Beckham, with bassist Clinton Cole and superstar drummer-about-town Ben Tufts, comprise the excellent neo-soul-ish group lowercase letters. Here’s an unplugged live rendition of Can’t Won’t Rush, a love song from their 2011 debut EP a-g, for the web video series The Angle.