Monthly Archives: December 2015

Top 3 Videos of 2015 #1: The North Country – The Cross We Bear

Andrew Grossman’s band The North Country released their sophomore album There Is Nothing To Fear in April and boldly challenged the DC music scene to really step up their game. The album expands on the initial folk-rock style with sonic excursions that show Grossman isn’t just one of the best frontmen in DC, but has the songcraft chops to match. The bar is set high with the first song, the catchy and accessible “The Cross We Bear”, and well-known local director Nigel Lyons’s video matches the song perfectly. Cameos from BRNDA’s Leah Gage, the Church Night crew and members of The North Country are fun easter eggs, as is the bookend scene referencing Grossman’s home and DCDIT house venue, Bathtub Republic. It’s ambitious videos like this that tell a story, convey a meaningful message and compliment the music so well that win the year and make doing this job of bringing you the latest and best in DC music worth it. See you in 2016 for more amazing songs, videos and shows!


Holiday Podcast for Dec. 23, 2015


Andy Zipf of The Cowards Choir stops by to sing a Christmas song about Snoopy & The Red Baron, while Paul & Tony dish about their love of the holidays. And of course a special lineup of holiday music exclusively from DC musicians!


Andy Zipf – Christmas Bells (Snoopy’s Christmas)
The Harry Bells – Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer [Holidays with the Harry Bells]
Wylder – Silver Bells [Wyld About Christmas]
Derek Evry – Hey! Ho! Let It Snow! (Live) [Hey! Ho! Let It Snow! single]
Soft Punch – Get Your Shit Together For The Holidays [Survive Vol. 1: The Holidays]
Pilate – Drummer Boy [Drummer Boy single]
Ryan Walker & Sara Curtin – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas [Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas single]

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Top 3 Videos of 2015 #2: Beauty Pill – Dog With Rabbit In Mouth Unharmed

This has been a delightfully resurgent year for Chad Clark and his quintet Beauty Pill. After recovering from long and well-documented struggles with health, Clark released the full length album Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are just in time to play one of the final shows at Arlington’s exciting but problematic venue Artisphere, the location Clark choise to record the album in its early days of 2011, before it closed for good. Clark enlisted director Jeff Sheven to create videos for 3 singles from the album, all sharing similar visual themes of focusing on the singer’s face. We could have chosen the better known singles “Steven & Tiwonge” or “Afrikaaner Barista”, but instead the #2 DC music video of the year is the first that came out, the atmospheric “Dog With Rabbit In Mouth Unharmed”. The song and video work together so well, allowing us to focus on singer Jean Cook, whose assured vocal contributions to Beauty Pill refuse to be dominated by Clark’s unique delivery. Beauty Pill’s amazing record made it onto so many year-end best-of lists, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to get to know it well. They’re back at the Rock & Roll Hotel on February 6th.


Top 3 Videos of 2015 #3: The Max Levine Ensemble – Sun’s Early Rays

Pop punk band The Max Levine Ensemble roared back in 2015 after an 8 year hiatus with Backlash, Baby and reminded us that rock music should be fun as hell. The video for the debut single, “Sun’s Early Rays”, shows how far creativity and a shoestring budget can get you in 2015. Katie Alice Greer, frontwoman of Priests, stars as a dashing superspy stealing the doomsday device from Sharad Satsangi of Ilsa, giving Daniel Craig a run for his money. “Sun’s Early Rays” is the first in a linked trilogy of videos, and while we await the third, don’t miss the trippy “My Valerian”. Thank God these punks are back in business.


The Cowards Choir – Name The Fear campaign

Andy Zipf, one of DC’s best singer-songwriters, just launched a PledgeMusic campaign to record the debut full length album by the ensemble he fronts, The Cowards Choir, called Name The Fear. The ambitious project involves recording and releasing the album by the band, and enlisting filmmaker Will Davis of Small Creatures to create a “visual score” to accompany the entire album. The Cowards Choir has proven to be one of the few bands in DC with the talent and drive to break out to a mainstream national audience, and the efforts behind Name The Fear, with the help of new fans and those already in the know, can make that happen. Pre-order the album, sign up for the mailing list, and pledge your support today! (And grab the first two EPs!)


The Walking Sticks – The News

In our roles as purveyors of DC music, it’s a pleasure to see bands start up from nothing and grow into themselves as performers and songwriters, or you know, partying too much and flaming out. The Walking Sticks have developed a confidence in their dreamy synthpop sound over the last few years that shows how determined they are to join the ranks of GEMS, Beauty Pill and Ex Hex achieving the national spotlight. Today no less than Paste Magazine premiered this new music video for their latest single “The News”. You can count on seeing the lights, smoke machine and singer Chelsea Lee’s sultry power on display Saturday night at Songbyrd with a fully DC support lineup in Cautious Clay, Moonlight Mask and Redline Graffiti.


Lightshow – It’s Lit

The street tough language is thick on Lightshow‘s newest freestyle “It’s Lit”, but dig deeper and you’ll find some memorable lines. One of the young, hard-working crop of DC hip-hop’s next generation, Lightshow and his buds filmed this video involving bikes, take out food and dice. Grab Lightshow’s newest free mixtape If These Walls Could Talk hosted by DJ Dynamite.


The Cornel West Theory – Pillz

Hip-hop provocateurs The Cornel West Theory took a while to drop their full length album Coming From The Bottom a few months ago, but the hype is building already for a new release late December called The T.A.B.L.E. The collective tease their mysteriously acronymical album with a music video for “PiLLz”, featuring sinister sounding rhymes over old soul samples. Whoever booked TCWT at this Sunday’s DC Punk Funk Revival show at U Street Music Hall really knows what’s up, as this lineup with Loud Boyz, UCB and Drew Kid is completely unmissable.


Polyon – Blue

Polyon‘s fuzzy, loud and drone-y take on rock has surprised longtime fans of singer Ryan McLaughin and shown his wide and developing taste in songwriting. Their pay-what-you-want EP Blue recently came out on Funny/Not Funny Records (pre-order a cassette!), and now the title track has a music video to show off the release. “Blue” is undoubtedly one of the messiest videos of the year, and it’s oddly and completely satisfying watching others get covered in paint and flour, for art. You can catch Polyon live this weekend as part of the 6th anniversary celebration of Brandon Wetherbee’s live talk show You, Me, Them, Everybody on Saturday night at the Black Cat.


Swings – Tiles

Riding a significant amount of buzz for their just-released full length album Sugarwater, post-hardcore band Swings embarks on a tour today with DC-based Exploding In Sound labelmates Two-Inch Astronaut to the northeast. For a taste of their hazy, melancholic sound, here’s the music video for “Tiles”, directed by Maggie Menditto.