Tomorrow the winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk contest is finally announced, so it’s time to wrap up our review of DC entries and get to praying that one of them wins. Perhaps it’ll be today’s entry? Bob is a known fan of the theatrics and showmanship of M.H. & His Orchestra. A band totally unlike any other in DC, they’ve even had fans write in attempting to describe their sound. This video for “Promenade Drive” gives you some idea of what to expect from this band: elegant costumes, choreography, set design, a clarinet, and abounding energy. Keep your eyes peeled for the next big show from Max Holiday and his well dressed gang.
Our romp through DC area submissions to NPR’s Tiny Desk contest continues with a very different entry by Elena & Los Fulanos. Frontwoman Elena Lacayo’s bilingual upbringing in American and Nicaraguan culture feeds the fusion of styles in this performance of “Miel Venenosa”, the title track from last year’s debut full length album. The folk element from the banjo is unmistakable, but the Spanish lyrics transport the song to another place. Elena will sing a few solo songs as part of Justin Trawick’s The 9 Showcase this Friday night at Ebeneezer’s Coffeehouse.
We’re nearing the end of our trove of NPR Tiny Desk contest submissions from DC area musicians, but there are a couple more gems that we hope get a lot of love from Bob and his judges. Here’s soulful R&B band lowercase letters doing a heartbreaking new song called “Stay”. Catch them tonight playing songs from their recently released self-titled full length album as they kick off an early Luce Unplugged show in just a few hours at the Luce Center for American Art with Art Sorority For Girls, presented by the CityPaper.
Here’s a band that came out of nowhere, quite literally. The El Mansouris, composed of Alex Braden, Drew Hagelin, Fiona Kohrman, Margot MacDonald and Sam Raymond, just started their social media accounts in mid January and made a lasting first impression with their NPR Tiny Desk contest entry, this live version of “Walden” with lots of great drumming. Get in on the ground floor and keep your eyes peeled for their debut show soon.
Our dear friends at DC Music Download have thrown some seriously impressive events in their 3 years of covering the DC music scene. The 9:30 Club was packed for last year’s birthday show headlined by Drop Electric, and this year’s event promises no less with Loud Boyz, Baby Bry Bry & The Apologists and DC DIT champions Paperhaus, hosted by the Rev. Stevedore Maybelline Bidet and his saving ministry Church Night. Trust me, don’t snooze on this early show!
And don’t forget to pace yourself, because the afterparty goes late! When the show’s over, head to nearby Dunya for schmoozing with the DCMD crowd and DJ sets from Avervge, Lean Quatifah and Hometown Sounds (that’s me!) Admission is free with your ticket for those 21+.
I pay a lot of attention to DC bands, as you might imagine, and yet this enthusiastic young group from College Park escaped my notice until their Tiny Desk submission crossed my path. The Girls Upstairs, normally a four piece indie rock band, crammed three of their well dressed members between a desk and an open closet to lay down this acoustic folk version of “This Rose”, the first track from their recently released EP Never Love You. (Guys, you sound great but $10 is pretty steep for a 4 song EP.) The harmonies and energy on this song are great, and having a solidly talented female drummer in your band is a surefire way to catch my attention.
You think we’d run out of awesome NPR Tiny Desk submissions from DC yet? Heck no, son. Here’s Sara Curtin, best known as half of the folk duo The Sweater Set, doing a solo number called “Careless” at U street furniture boutique GoodWood. (Note the beautiful vintage Simmons desk!) Sara’s one of Justin Jones’s new band The B-Sides, performing Wednesday night at the 9:30 Club with Laura Tsaggaris, and don’t miss The Sweater Set hosting their annual Valentine’s Day show at The Fridge with Ballad’ve.
Making fine use of the gorgeous chaparral landscape near their home base of Paso Robles California, Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray imported their DC based backup band of Derek Evry and Ben Tufts and shot this video for NPR’s Tiny Desk contest. “Magnolia” is a powerful ballad with a sweet chorus to get stuck in your head, named after Miss Shevaughn’s birthplace in southern Arkansas. After touring for 3 months last year (on their honeymoon no less!) to support their breakout full length album Lean Into The Wind, MS & YW have holed up writing new material, and “Magnolia” makes me excited for more of their cosmic Americana sound. Dig those 4 part harmonies and sweet mandolin solo by Mr. Tufts!