Monthly Archives: September 2017

Derek Evry & Ryan Walker – Rainbow Connection

Clarendon’s only full-time music venue Iota hosts its last live performers this weekend, as redevelopment pushes out the long time home of NOVA songwriters and acoustic performers. We’ve seen the end coming from a long ways off, but that doesn’t ease the mournfulness for many performers and music fans who loved the size, feel and community that Iota fostered over its more than two decades. Saturday the live music starts at noon and goes deep into the night, with many surprises and emotional moments in store from Justin Jones, No Second Troy, Gist, The Cowards Choir, Jumpin’ Jupiter and much more. We don’t usually run unedited phone camera videos on this blog, but sometimes the power of rules is knowing when to bend them. Last weekend Derek Evry played a release show for his delightful new album Pop Perspective, and ended the show as he often does with his version of Kermit The Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” with help from The Beanstalk Library’s Ryan Walker.

Live Music Forever.

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The North Country – Island

This weekend the Andrew Grossman fronted band The North Country celebrates the release of their long-simmering third album In Defense Of Cosmic Altruism with an audio-visual experience at St. Stephen’s Church on Saturday night September 30th. Earlier this year NoCo crowdfunded a similar show they called The Garden, and at the direction of their longtime manager Hersch Herschel they brought in legendary music video director Sphinx to film the band performing the psychedelic-tinged 70s soft rock song “Island”. Expect a heavy dose of black light neon beauty and lasers by Zak Forrest to compliment Grossman’s thoughtful songwriting.

If you remember, Hersch Herschel didn’t think highly of NoCo’s last music video. Let’s check in to see his reaction to Sphinx’s creation.


Teething Veils – Webbed

“Webbed”, from chamber folk outfit Teething Veils‘s third and newest album Sea and Sun on Etxe Records, first surfaced as an entry in NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest early in 2016 and highlighted by us. Violist Hannah Burris’s soaring melody lifts up just as Greg Svitil’s dense lyrics need a moment for internal processing. The video from Zach Zimmerman and Michelle Morandotti of Ceramic Films partially obscures the musicians with nature’s overgrowth, but the song benefits from their musical presence on screen. Click Interested on the Facebook event for their next show at Comet Ping Pong on Friday December 22nd with Odetta Hartman and Owen Ross.

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Presenting Humble Fire @ Millennium Stage

We are bummed to announce that John from Run Come See is recovering from an injury, so they can’t perform for our October #DCmusic showcase. They’ll be back with us in 2018, and we are absolutely thrilled that dream pop band Humble Fire has stepped up to play the show!

Humble Fire owes its origins to Craigslist, which first brought guitarist Dave and singer Nefra together through another project and later recruited Xaq, bassist, who responded to Dave’s ad with a purposeful manifesto that will forever go down in band history. While not the band’s original drummer, Jason had long been a friend and active musician in the DC DIY music circuit before signing on in 2016. In its current form, the band celebrates the diverse musical influences that each member draws from–from bluegrass and classical, to punk and hip hop–weaving addictive rhythms and vulnerable vocals through tightly wound guitar and bass melodies.

Humble Fire’s album Builder explores physical and emotional experiences around loss and reconstruction, from family deaths and failed romances to the shocks and stresses they have navigated as a band. Through those experiences, they’ve come to appreciate that reconstruction isn’t something you can tackle on your own: it requires an entire crew. Builder, then, is as much about that process of putting yourself back together, as it is about the relationships that can help or hinder that process. Since Humble Fire’s members have known each other over the past five or so years, they’ve all shown up for each other in different ways as part of that reconstruction crew. They’re lucky to have found family in each other in that way.

Somewhat accidentally, the album also ended up being about working out questions of identity. “Who am I now, in this world without my parents in it”, for example? “How can I take care of others without losing myself?” When the band first listened back to the fully assembled album, they realized it had become a sort of therapy in working out some of those questions. More broadly, Humble Fire’s collective identity is also something they try to be very intentional about. As a DC-based band, they’re immersed in and identify with the tradition of DIY independence and social awareness typically associated with the politics of hardcore punk (despite not working in the genre). They strive to embody those values as a band as much as in their personal lives.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Friday October 6th!

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Footwerk – Retrograde

There’s a time to get upset and anxious about all that’s going on in the world today, but that time is not while partying with Footwerk. This bedadzzled DC pop outfit is fronted by Kyle and Melissa as a self-described “friendzone” power couple, and uses many modern dating tropes in their mythos. The follow-up to their 2015 debut album Casual Encounters drops soon, but its new single “Retrograde” is here now. This clubby pop song is a perfect end of summer anthem, as the warm weather lingers here in DC and Kyle repeats the refrain “Let’s make this last forever.” Grab tickets now to see Footwerk open for SOJA at The Anthem on December 29th.


Elena & Los Fulanos – Ponle Fin

Bilingual folk rock band Elena & Los Fulanos has a whole lot to say in the era of Trump. Singer Elena Lacayo originally hails from Nicaragua, and the plight of undocumented immigrants and other members of marginalized communities are frequent subjects of her pointed songwriting. “Ponle Fin”, translated as “Put An End”, is the lead single from her sophomore album Volcán, successfully crowdfunded earlier this year and set for release on October 20th. The song and Ellie Walton-directed music video feature the always-dapper Christylez Bacon on an English verse, and though the rest of the song is in Spanish, we don’t think you’ll miss the message. Catch Elena & Los Fulanos tonight at the Black Cat opening for Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno.


Podcast for September 19th, 2017

Tony updates his stolen car saga, while Paul laments the closing of Iota.

Zack Be – Wheels on a Family Church [Used To, Elsewhere]
Makeup Girl – Think of You [Something New]
Dissonance – [Screech]
Reagan Bombs – Wind Me Up [Reagan Bombs]
The Scotch Bonnets – Cut From The Cloth [The District]
Wytold – Winds of Change [Music For Dance]

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Loi Loi – Responsabilidades

The newest addition to Ben Schurr’s ever-expanding Blight Records empire is Loi Loi, the synthpop project led by Kristie with support from her sibling Johnny Fantastic, primarily of Stronger Sex. The five songs on Loi Loi’s boldly titled debut EP Viva La Vulva represent a poppy, rave-y turn for the often abrasive and challenging material in the catalog of Blight Records, and we think a little fun is just what we need right now. The bilingual EP’s first Spanish single “Responsabilidades” feels like a 90s acid warehouse party throwback in the best way, and the video by Blight’s visual director Jen Meller makes us want to dance at our desks. You can get down properly to this at the EP release show tonight at Songbyrd along with Park Snakes and Philly’s Thrills.

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Be Steadwell – You Oughta Know / Bodak Yellow

Happy Friday DC! You may have observed that we’re big fans of queer pop singer Be Steadwell‘s live looping single take YouTube videos of pre-release songs and covers. Her latest is a creepy mash-up of current hit “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B with Alanis Morrissette’s rage anthem of the 90s, “You Oughta Know”. Learn your classics, kids!


Reesa Renee – Invisible

Time for some #TBT. September is Suicide Prevention Month, and singer Reesa Renee is working with a nonprofit called BREATHE to spread awareness of mental health issues. She wrote her 2014 single “Invisible” as a tribute to her friends and mentors that she lost to fatal car crashes, and through it opens up about the depression and bipolar disorder she must navigate. Wanting no one to feel invisible in their suffering, she’s created a challenge to her fans to share the Invisible video on social media with the hashtags #YOUARENOTINVISIBLE #BREATHE and #SUICIDEAWARENESS, as well as create their own lip sync videos to the song to dedicate to a loved one lost through suicide. The heart on this girl is as enormous as her talent.