Grammy-nominated Ethiopian-American singer-songwriter Wayna released a brand new music video today for her single “I Don’t Wanna Wait”, from the upcoming 6 song EP The Expats dropping in October. In the 5 years since Wayna’s last release Higher Ground she has collaborated with big names like Eric Roberson and Wale, and this song comes from German producer Farhot who’s best known from his work with Nigerian-German soul singer Nneka. Chris Muir shot the video in Toronto, telling the story of a multiracial women’s softball team called The Expats and the battle with a rival team that very loosely interpret the rules of softball.
A longtime fixture on the DC music scene, Olivia Mancini now splits her time between here and Brooklyn. She and her Mates will release a new singles collection called Interregnum on August 20th, surely rolling up some of the tracks posted to Olivia’s Bandcamp recently. You’ve got a great opportunity to see Olivia & The Mates this Friday night at Iota in Clarendon, with supporting acts Nine Times Blue from Atlanta and Nashville’s Luella And The Sun. And if that doesn’t work for you, she’s quite excited to open for Matthew Sweet at the Birchmere on August 23rd. Olivia’s newest music video, a scratchy vintage accompaniment for Ruby, Baby, is a song that parallels Dion’s 1963 hit single of the same name.
Back in 2009 singer songwriter Andy Zipf released an EP called The Cowards Choir in which he felt that he’d finally found his voice. Now touring in support of his newest EP Reunion, he enlisted Ryan Walker from The Beanstalk Library and not one but TWO drummers, Adam Neubauer and Ben Tufts to form the band The Cowards Choir. Andy, Ryan and many many more amazing DC musicians will play this Saturday afternoon at Jammin’ Java’s cannot-miss Ben Tufts & Friends Show to support the Craig Tufts Memorial Fund. To accompany the contemplative video for Maybe I, from the Reunion EP, Andy wrote some thoughts on the song for the official Tumblr for To Write Love on Her Arms, “a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” The Reunion EP is available on both iTunes and NoiseTrade for a suggested tip of $5.
Just released yesterday, the new video from garage punk rockers Foul Swoops got a lotofattention. It was shot by the newest Swoop Michelle Peña and features spottable VA landmarks including Roosevelt Island and Bob & Edith’s Diner. Since punk songs are usually so short, I applaud the decision to meld the two videos into one. Both tracks are posted for streaming and free download on the band’s SoundCloud page. Mark your calendars for Friday October 25th for a curiously free show at the Velvet Lounge to celebrate local punk label Windian Records‘ 4th Birthday Party and split 7″ release DC Is Doomed with Foul Swoops, Teen Liver, Thee Lolitas and The Doozies.
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?
Singer-songwriter Emmett Williams is driven to create in many different outlets as an accomplished multimedia artist, documentary filmmaker and exhibited photographer in addition to his multiple albums. Later this month he tours England in support of his latest release SHINE, a collection of highlights from his previous four CDs. For this album Williams recorded a new version of “Black Boys In America”, his version of Sinead O’Connor’s song “Black Boys On Mopeds”, obviously inspired by the recent headlines and anguish over the Trayvon Martin killing. The music video for Black Boys In America furthers the message of the song by connecting America’s racial tensions to the persistent problem of poverty.
Fresh Tracks! – The Dead Women / Vier by Tony Porreco
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!
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”
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.
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.”
Scrappy young rapper Stephen Redhead goes full-on DIY for this music video. Aim To Please, a hard-hitting song about rough times growing up, from the FREE 2011 mixtape The Schemata, was shot by Redhead himself driving around DC. See him ducking down? He’s actually dodging the watchful eyes of the police. Don’t try this yourselves kids, Redhead is a professional rapper.
House Studio DC, the premier creative force for music videos in this town, is enlisting DC musicians to perform covers of some of their favorite tunes for their $5 Music Video series. Today we’ve got neo-soul group Lowercase Letters performing a mellow version of blues legend Louis Jordan’s relationship rant “Hard Head”.
Hot off the presses! Singer-songwriter Taylor Carson just released a new music video for Waiting For Me, his collaboration with Stephen Kellogg and perhaps the most heartfelt and touching song from his excellent recent album With Innocence. Produced by Rob Helmstetter and Chris Sessions out in Colorado, the video keeps the focus on Carson and Kellogg’s songwriting with simple and gorgeous visuals. Carson has many local shows coming up, but the clear highlight is drummer extrodinaire Ben Tufts & Friends show on Saturday afternoon August 17th at Jammin’ Java, a fundraiser for the memorial fund of his father Craig Tufts.