Monthly Archives: January 2018

Jonny Grave – Fever

Mr. Jonny Grave, DC’s liveliest blues guitarist and front man, has delivered a steady and welcome stream of EPs and collections to his Bandcamp page in recent years. Now the hard-working and steady-gigging musician is about to unleash his first full album with live band and original compositions in too long. The eponymous album’s first single is “Fever”, and this music video from director Casey McAdams of the Smithsonian gives us the goods on Grave’s ferocity in both songwriting and performance. Shout-out to Jason Mendelson of MetroSongs and the ubiquitous Ben Tufts filling out Grave’s live band. Stay tuned for more details of the album’s release and many many more chances to catch Grave performing live.


Justin Trawick & The Common Good – Just A Friend

Troubadour Justin Trawick is surely front-runner for the hardest working musician in DC. He’s launched more initiatives than almost any, from his weekly podcast The Circus Life to The 9 Songwriter Series to the unrehearsedDC live video series, showing his fearlessness and drive to create new avenues of musical success for his many many friends. However, one thing we’ve been waiting for is a new album. Trawick and his chums in The Common Good finally released their debut EP Riverwash, a folksy and assured collection of Trawick’s Americana originals, but he couldn’t resist slipping in a ubiquitous cover at the end. Trawick is a born crowd pleaser with an array of reinterpretations at the ready, including his newest music video that didn’t even make the EP cut. Mandolinist Josh Himmelsbach takes the vocal mic for Biz Markie’s 1989 classic “Just A Friend”, with a team of swing dancers lighting up the floor of Pearl Street Warehouse, the place to be Friday night January 26th to celebrate the EP’s release.


Louisa Hall – Barista Boyfriend

Remember when talking about dating was fun? When it was married people borrowing friends’ phones to swipe, or tumblrs full of the profiles of misguided internet gentlemen. Then the infamous Aziz Ansari story grabbed hold and demanded we engage in serious and sometimes uncomfortable conversations about what’s wrong and how to fix it. We are ready for a breather here, and singer Louisa Hall has us covered on her shimmery debut music video. “Barista Boyfriend” is the title track of her new full band EP that comes out February 16th, providing an utterly charming example of her unique and witty view into modern dating life, with ample amounts of both caffeine and ukulele. Pre-order the EP and grab your tix to the release show at Vienna’s Jammin’ Java on Sunday February 18th.


Loi Loi – You May Be

The title of Loi Loi‘s debut EP Viva La Vulva came from a pithy sign spied by singer Kristie Di Lascio at last year’s Women’s March in DC. The release of the EP’s third music video for “You May Be” displays impeccable timing as the #MeToo campaign evolves and the second annual Women’s March swept social media this past weekend. The song’s production drips with vintage late 80s goth-y synthpop from Depeche Mode and early Nine Inch Nails, while the video from Blight Records visual director Jen Meller casts Kate Ida and beloved DC expat Seán Barna in a blood red subterranean club full of tension and furtive looks. Someone resurrect MTV’s 120 Minutes again and get this video on it.

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Wylder – The Lake (Live at White Star Sound)

Musicians sometimes first make “album versions” of songs that later evolve into new realms after countless performances shape the structure and flourishes we first encountered in our headphones. There’s a disconnect between fans that play a song’s album version over and over to learn it by heart and the musicians that perform it night after night and can’t help but tinker with it each time. Indie folk quartet Wylder bridges this by updating two songs from their 2016 debut album Rain and Laura to accompany two new songs recorded at White Star Sound in Charlottesville VA. Reminiscent of HTS loves The Cowards Choir, Wylder brought in cameras to film the recording experience, and today they released this video for the dreamy new song “The Lake”. The four song EP Live at White Star Sound comes out just prior to their next show headlining U Street Music Hall on Saturday February 17th, so you can pre-order the EP and buy your advance tickets right now.


Presenting Backbeat Underground at the Millennium Stage

DC’s most dedicated music site Hometown Sounds returns to the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage series to present Backbeat Underground on Monday February 5th, part of our monthly showcase of the best in #DCmusic.

Born in the depths of subterranean groove gatherings, Backbeat Underground is a five-piece instrumental funk group from Washington, D.C., with a smooth soul-jazz sound. They often invite guest musicians and vocalists to their shows which results in fresh improvisation, heavy toe-tapping, and head-bopping pockets galore. Bringing their years of collective experience in the DC and NYC music scenes, the band delivers tight, energetic sets steeped in fresh improvisation and head-bopping, booty-shaking pockets. Backbeat Underground recently released a single on DC’s own Fort Knox Recordings, has performed every year in the annual Funk Parade, and the band is quickly gaining notoriety for their organic and smoldering blend of soulful funk and jazz.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Monday February 5th!

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Podcast for January 17th, 2018

Paul recaps his recent DJ night, while Tony wants to be a nerd rap mogul.

Lauren Calve & Run Come See – Ain’t Gonna Change My Mind [single]
Hiphopmcdougal – Let Me See That Sushi Roll [El Returno]
Carol From HR – Hurrd (Believe It) [LIVE! from Washington DC]
Chopteeth feat. Head-Roc – Free DC [Bone Reader]
Near Northeast – Clusters [Etxe Records at 10 Years: A Compilation]
The Bitter Dose Combo – It’s A Sin

Right-click to Download

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Subscribe to the Hometown Sounds podcast in Apple Podcasts, Overcast, TuneIn or your favorite podcast app! (and tell a friend too!)

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Be Steadwell – Leo

The future of (some) music is direct patronage. The majority of music consumers these days sadly don’t believe music is worth paying for and owning, streaming music platforms have rendered obsolete managing libraries of MP3s, and most people don’t have optical drives, turntables or cassette decks anymore. Despite some bumps in 2017, Patreon is proving the viability of its platform to provide direct and ongoing support to more niche creatives, and we’ve been curious when a DC musician would sign up. The first we’ve seen is queer pop singer Be Steadwell, now in her fourth year of working as a full time musician. Patrons that want to sustain her music beyond buying albums and attending shows can sign up and get previews of upcoming releases and of course undying gratitude. While we patiently wait for Steadwell’s promised next album of love songs, her latest music video takes us back to 2017’s Breakup Songs with the adorable and self-reflective (and kinda-NSFW) “Leo”. Don’t miss Steadwell open for Letitia VanSant’s album release show at Black Cat on Tuesday February 6th.


Light Beams – Grow Pt. II (for PJ Harvey)

It’s pretty rare that live video shot at a house show has enough quality to make it worthy of sharing to you, dear DC-area readers. Justin Moyer’s new dance-rock project Light Beams played at the underground house venue The Beehive back in November, and Rob Parrish captured this lively performance of “Grow Pt. II (for PJ Harvey)”, from their debut release S/T Cassette on Don Giovanni Records. As someone who’s attempted to shoot Moyer’s energetic performances at official clubs, I appreciate Parrish’s camera work even more here. You’d be a fool to miss the next Light Beams show, because the Washington CityPaper presents them and Time Is Fire for absolutely free at the Luce Unplugged series at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Friday January 19th.


Bat Fangs – Rock the Reaper

Ex Hex bassist Betsy Wright takes the lead in a new duo with Flesh Wounds drummer Laura King of North Carolina called Bat Fangs (nanananananana Bat Fangs!) Their self-titled album dropping next month on Don Giovanni Records looks to fill the sophomore-Ex-Hex-album-shaped hole in our hearts with huge 80s-era stadium rock riffs and punk attitude. “Rock the Reaper” is the album’s second advance single, after last year’s headbanger “Wolfbite”, and this flashy music video from Drew Hagelin of The El Mansouris gives the duo ample opportunities to look badass. The DC album release show is Friday February 9th at Comet with Faunas and Warm Sun, and you’d be smart to grab advance tix now.