Monthly Archives: April 2015

John Aulabaugh – Road Less Traveled video

John Aulabaugh gave up his musical adventures in his late twenties to pursue a corporate career. That was a successful move that allowed him to propser financially, but he couldn’t ignore the toll he saw of drug and alcohol addiction on friends and loved ones. He channeled his success into philanthropy, and when then clock rolled over to 50 years, he decided to leave business behind, pick up a guitar and add music back into his life. He writes and sings songs with the direct purpose of bringing understanding and healing to those troubled by addiction, and it’s impossible to miss this message in his debut music video for “Road Less Traveled”, from Aulabaugh’s recently released full length album Of Sins Present & Past. A portion of the proceeds from every album sale goes to support drug and alcohol recovery at Transitions in Covington, KY. Find out more about Aulabaugh’s musical journey in this introductory video and mark your calendars to see Aulabaugh perform an acoustic set at Epicure Cafe in Fairfax on June 19th.


“Based on Love” Part 2 – A Conversation with Asha Santee


Catch up on Part 1 here!

When you wander downstairs into Asha’s apartment, you’re surrounded by art on all sides—to the left, to the right—even the ceilings. Every square inch of her apartment is covered in art—most of it hers, some of it works in progress… Just as many musicians feed their brains with music almost every day—to grow their vocabulary, to remind them of their inspirations, to study the writing and production techniques of others—Asha’s visual surroundings are a constant reminder of yet another reason why she’s on this planet.

Ben: Let’s talk now about your art—you’re the only local artist whose work I know I would immediately recognize if I saw it on somebody’s wall.

Asha: Awesome. That’s good!

B: One of the things that I respond to a lot about your artwork is that there’s a certain pop art approach. There are a lot of repeated elements: the heart, the female form—it’s meaningful in a deeper way, but also lighthearted. Maybe that’s what makes it accessible for me. There’s the boombox that shows up a lot, and the record, you know, the recording medium. This could just be me looking for a deeper thing that maybe isn’t there, but to me it goes back to the rhythm thing, the groove thing, repetition—the drummer’s job is to hold it down, and be that pulse. Your art has the same kind of rhythm and repetition to it. Was there a point where you realized “Okay, this is my voice, this is my brand, this is what I want my art to look like?” Do you feel it evolving?

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Polyon – More video

Pretty colors and eerie images of food make up the accompanying visuals for shoegazers Polyon‘s second single “More”. This video takes the noisy spaced-out quality of Polyon’s indie rock and propels us on a far-out journey with tasty snacks along the way. Polyon’s been on quite a run of local shows to promote their new pay-what-you-want Three Songs EP, but this Sunday’s matinee show at Hole In The Sky with Two Inch Astronaut and a new band called Green God, billed as “Escape From DC Brunch” is obviously the best possible way to recover from your inevitable Saturday night hangover.


Kill Lincoln – Good Riddance to Good Advice video

The last song on this week’s episode of the Hometown Sounds podcast is the title track from ska band Kill Lincoln‘s final EP Good Riddance to Good Advice on Jump Start Records. As we mentioned on the show, the band made a music video for the song, and it kicks just as much ass as you thought it would. The video features hypeman Drew Skibitsky doing what God put him on this earth to do, and that is get everyone super pumped for everything! First thing in the morning, Drew gets up, puts on a suit and tie and insanely dances his way to work, spreading infectuous joy even in the snow. There’s no way I could ever be that excited to go to work, unless my job involved whiteboarding the (totally incorrect) history of ska music to coworkers. Sadly Kill Lincoln’s show last Saturday night at the Black Cat was the final DC performance for the high-energy ska punks, so buy their EP and don’t ever stop dancing.


“Based on Love” – a conversation with Asha Santee

1497498_10151792408327337_814126049_nMy name is Ben Tufts, and I’ve been an active musician in the DC region for over ten years. I’ve always enjoyed writing about music, but it’s only recently that friends and colleagues have convinced me to take it a bit more seriously. I’m really excited  to have the opportunity to contribute to Hometown Sounds!

In the digital era, the way that musicians make a living is completely shifting.  In many lines of work, we strive for “fair trade” for laborers–but nobody pays for recorded music anymore.  My aim with the interview series is not to just profile musicians living and working in the area, but to portray them as complete humans. In other words, I want to let the reader behind the curtain, to learn who the artist is, on stage and off. It’s my hope that when people see these faces and hear these stories, they’ll begin to understand where the music is really coming from.

My first interview is with DC drummer/artist/entrepreneur/educator extraordinaire, Asha Santee. Enjoy!


Based On Love

A conversation with Asha Santee

“It was just immediate shock, because the first thing that ran through my mind was ‘I don’t have a job, I don’t even know if my insurance is up, and I know this is about to be serious, if it’s a broken leg.’”

It was a pick-up game. He’d driven to the basket, their shins had collided. Now, staring up at the sky, clutching her leg, surrounded by people covering their mouths or their eyes, Asha’s whole life plan seemed derailed. Both of the bones in her leg were shattered.

Santee had moved to DC from Houston, TX in 2004 to play college ball for Howard University. She played out all four years of her scholarship, graduated, got a job in admissions, and was being courted to play professional ball overseas. Asha describes the moment that she turned the end of one career into the beginning of another…

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Podcast for April 7th, 2015

Hear about Paul & Tony’s recent talk show/podcast appearance! (It was weird!)

Louis Weeks – Fire [haha album coming soon]
John Aulabaugh – Awake [Of Sins Present and Past album]
Boon – Medicine [Rome EP]
Pleasure Curses – Concrete [Pure Lust album coming soon]
Gravity Lens – And God Above [The Dark Between Good Times EP]
Kill Lincoln – Good Riddance to Good Advice [Good Riddance to Good Advice EP]

Right-click to Download

Or listen in SoundCloud:

Subscribe to the Hometown Sounds podcast (& rate it 5 stars!) in the iTunes Store

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Mittenfields – Optimists video

“Everyone is an #optimist on #openingday”, the tweet from indie rockers Mittenfields read earlier today as their debut music video dropped for “Optimists”, the lead single and title track from their upcoming full length release on April 28th. The famously loud quintet produced these trippy, snowy visuals whose style matches the slacker 90s vibe that energizes the track. The Black Cat (maintstage!) hosts the album’s release show on Thursday April 30th with a Hometown Sounds approved all-DC lineup including Greenland, Magnetar Flares and Night Streets (full respect to Night Streets for naming both a song and their debut EP after themselves \m/ ). If this is the theme song for the opening day of Nats baseball in DC, here’s hoping we don’t have too many bad days ahead.


Kenn Starr – Say Goodbye video

DC, please welcome Kenn Starr back to our hip-hop scene. An alum of the influential Low Budget crew that included Oddisee, Kev Brown and Sean Born, Starr’s sophomore album Square One, on the influential Mello Music Group label, represents a fresh start coming a full eight years since his debut full length Starr Status. On “Say Goodbye”, Square One‘s lead off single, Starr reflects on his career and his current aspirations over a crafty beat by Detroit’s Black Milk. That thoughtful, swank Low Budget vibe sure hasn’t gone out of style.

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