Monthly Archives: July 2014

Live Picks! with Tony Porreco: The French Admirals @ Rock n’ Roll Hotel

Live Picks! with Tony Porrreco

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Who: The French Admirals w/ Exit Vehicles, Patrick Frank and Kelly Ann Beavers
Where: Rock n’ Roll Hotel
When: Saturday August 2
Song You Must Hear Today: “Favour”

Okay, I’ll come out and say it: I’ve always thought the stripped down North of Canada spinoff The French Admirals were an odd, misguided band. I questioned the logic of what Rob Kuczynski and Mike Lashinsky were doing, playing a combination of their own songs and covers, a helluva lot, often to empty rooms, as either a guitar/bass duo or with a drummer using a skeleton of a kit. Why do that? NoC was awesome, loud and interesting. Plus, I kinda hate acoustic guitars. I hate playing them, I (mostly) hate listening to them. To me, these guys were just doing everything wrong.

I wouldn’t air my beef for the band unless I also have huge praise for them too. Their new record Closer Than Brothers is pretty much a new North of Canada album, if you ask me. Electrics, keyboards, hand claps(!), all the trappings of a robust pop rock album and all complementing that twisty, breezy North of Canada sound. I had no idea they were making this record, so, an actual surprise = double points, and it cements them as a hard working band doing double duty as both talented and frequent performers and recording artists. Closer Than Brothers is really great album that will rush over you so pleasurably.

So I think you’ll have a really good time seeing them this Saturday 8/2 at the Rock n’ Roll Hotel on H Street. The Admirals have enlisted supporting act Exit Vehicles, who churn out some antsy, anxiety-riddled post-punk that I can personally endorse as a thrill to see.

This show has a couple of extra curve balls to note. Patrick Frank, percussionist of We Were Pirates, performs new songs written for a songwriting collective he founded called the 10-20-30 Club. Members post 3 new songs, on the 10th, 20th and 30th of each month, to keep the creativity flowing. Bells and Hunters’ vocalist Kelly Ann Beavers rounds out the bill with a quirky blend of new original material and an inspired cover or two.

There’s a ton going on this weekend with In It Together Fest augmenting the existing club  lineups, but maybe you’re tired of making all those painful decisions about who to see and running all over town to see them. Here’s a show that’ll let you catch your breath.



ACME – California Girls / Numbers Game videos

DC in July is all about seeing live music performances indoors and outdoors, but the music video action has been pretty quiet lately. ACME breaks the lull with a two-in-one video for California Girls and Numbers Game, two feel-good summer singles you should totally grab for free from their SoundCloud while they’re feeling generous. Filmmaker Nigel Lyons, recently profiled as the go-to music video director for local bands by our buds at DC Music Download, crafts the visuals for each song around the striking beauty of model Ashlei “Smokei Grey” Gray. Catch ACME playing this Thursday night at the cheekily named Fort Loko for the kickoff night of DIY house show bonanza In It Together Fest.


Incredible Change – Branching Out video

Did you know that Ra Ra Rasputin frontman Brock Boss has a solo project? Now you do! Incredible Change features a mellower vibe than the New Order-speed dance music from Ra Ra, assembled by a who’s who of DC music including Deena OH, Miyazaki’s Eddie Rodela and the soon-departing Colonel K aka Patrick Kigongo. Today The Vinyl District premiered the intriguing new video for “Branching Out”, shot by Boss and Deanna Toema and produced by Grammy-award winning engineer Drew Doucette, showing Boss wandering through a colorful and slightly tilt-shifted Rock Creek Park. Incredible Change’s debut self-titled EP is a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp, and your next chance to catch them live is this Sunday night at DC9 with fellow synthpopers Pleasure Curses and AAA.

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KLAUSS – GIve Me All Your Money video

Gunther & Tammy will teach you how to dance to K L A U S S.
KLAUSS is the duo of Charlottesville’s Colin Killalea and DC resident Curtis Fye. Their lo-fi 2013 debut full length album Totems is a trippy & moody listen that you can download for free on Bandcamp, but hey, chip them a buck or two if you do. It’s cool.


Young Summer – Taken video

Singer Bobbie Allen’s dream-pop project Young Summer builds anticipation for her new full length album Sirens, dropping August 26th, with a music video for “Taken” that premiered yesterday. The languid, clear vocals and 80s-style synths on display here make the song’s theme of lost love in the song even more heartbreaking. The single came out earlier this year with a cover of The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” on the flipside. Director Allister Ann’s kaleidoscopic desert video showcases Allen’s poise, beauty and sparkly fashion sense.



By Tony Porreco

ROM (formerly The Dead Women) have caught the bug for making videos. The band put out their new record soda christ not much more than a month ago, and they’re already releasing a second music video.

While their last video for “Nuisance” followed a boxer pushing the boundaries of gender, coordinated movement is the big idea explored here in the new video for the song “Jerry Princess Taste”, which also happens to feature backup vocals from Wye Oak‘s Jenn Wasner.

The juxtaposition of highly stylized dance maneuvers over a punk rock number makes for a fun watch; it’s like watching a ballroom dance class being DJed by Joey Ramone. Also, this is a video oozing with snazzy, high quality production values, so take a break from the low-res cat vids you’re sneaking in at work and enjoy the craft of a well-made video. 


Wytold & Christylez Bacon – Doin’ It Right video

Electric cellist Wytold and out-of-this-world beatboxer Christylez Bacon are frequent collaborators with impressive results. Their latest is a live rendition of the Daft Punk song “Doin’ It Right”. On Wytold’s Bandcamp page, the song serves as a placeholder for an album of Live Covers, and I’m looking forward to more.

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Asheru & The Funk Ark – Funky DC video

Jazz keys master Will Rast‘s afrobeat ensemble The Funk Ark made a big entrance with their 2011 album From The Rooftops on Thievery Corporation’s Eighteenth Street Lounge label. The mostly instrumental album featured a stand-out collaboration with Sitali and Asheru called “Funky DC”, a verbal tour through DC’s neighborhoods and landmarks. The languid and trippy funk tune showed up again last year on Asheru’s debut full length album, Sleepless In Soweto, providing an anchor to Ash’s beloved hometown amongst songs recorded in and about South Africa. A distinguished long-timer in the DC rap scene going back to the late 90s with The Unspoken Heard, Asheru also serves as the Director of Arts Integration at Ballou Senior High School in Southeast. All that preamble sets the stage for this kick-ass new music video for “Funky DC”. Ballou High School’s swank marching band kicked off May’s inaugural Funk Parade in the U Street neighborhood that surprised just about everyone with its success and popularity, and Asheru grabbed the opportunity to film this video with the talented youngsters live at the event. This could be the most DC music video ever. We are already looking forward to next year’s Funk Parade!

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