Category Archives: Presenting

Presenting Boat Burning at the Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds wraps up another successful full year of hosting monthly #DCmusic showcases with a performance by Boat Burning on Tuesday December 11th! Boat Burning, a DC-based experimental rock ensemble featuring original works for multiple electric guitars, celebrates the holiday season with an evening of shimmering harmonics. The program will include favorites old and new, selections from the ensemble’s 2018 debut EP, and a few surprises especially for the holidays.

Boat Burning is a multi-guitar, experimental music collective that combines classically-influenced, minimalist compositions with the maximal ferocity and power of punk.

Featuring a core of five composer/guitarists, the DC based ensemble explores “maximum minimalism,” an intricate hybrid of composition and improvisation where elemental passages played by a multitude of instruments — sometimes 100 or more guitars — produce shimmering towers of densely-stacked harmonics. The result is majestic, evocative music that fuses the widescreen sweep of classical with the sheer physical thrall of punk rock.

Boat Burning’s obsession is with how music of astonishing complexity and beauty can arise by radically embracing simplicity and diverisity. Musical passages and instrumentation are stripped way down, and special tunings are used, to bring out and emphasize the differences in each player’s unique technique, ability and gear. This creates striking sonic effects: phantom instruments, created by the massive additive and subtractive harmonics — piccolos, French horns, bassoons, even entire string sections — flicker into life, and then disappear…

Formed 2008 in Chapel Hill NC’s roiling experimental music scene, founder Andras Fekete relocated Boat Burning to the U.S. capital in 2011 to take part in the District’s exploding musical renaissance. Since then, Boat Burning has attracted an astonishing array of collaborators from multiple cities.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Tuesday December 11th!

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Presenting Luna Honey at the Millennium Stage

Before relaxing with family and loved ones for Thanksgiving, visit the Kennedy Center on Wednesday November 21st for another Hometown Sounds #DCmusic show at the Millennium Stage, this month featuring dark trip-hop quartet Luna Honey.

Luna Honey draws on influences from The Birthday Party, Morphine, Carla Bozulich, Swans, and early 4AD to combine murky bass grooves, unhinged distortion, and haunted vocals for a sound that builds from darkly hypnotic to feverishly unmoored.

Their songs examine what it means to grow older, to let go of guilt, to embrace fear, and to find the balance between safety and a meaningful existence.

Luna Honey’s first LP, Peace Will Grind You Down was released July 13, 2018 on BLIGHT.Records on vinyl, cd, and streaming.

Luna Honey was formed on vocalist Maura Pond and bassist Levi Flack’s honeymoon in Colombia when the couple decided that they should spend the first year of their marriage dedicating themselves to something both had always wanted to do – putting out a full LP of original music.
That dream became a reality in April of 2017 when they befriended music scene veteran Benjamin Schurr at a Br’er show at DC’s Black Cat. While waiting in line together for a Nick Cave show they had road-tripped to Philadelphia for, Schurr made an impassioned speech on the duty of the artist to work with what you’ve got to create whatever original and meaningful art you are capable of.

Inspired by those words to try and overcome the feelings of inadequacy as a musician that had kept her from finishing songs for most of her life, Pond set about writing an album to help process what it means to be reexamining yourself in your 30’s and weighing what accumulated burdens help ground you and keep you steady, and what just weigh you down and should be cast off.

On a Friday the 13th in October that was also the release date for Schurr’s Brunch is for A$$holes LP with Br’er, as well as Maura and Levi’s anniversary weekend, the three spent several frenetic days in Maura and Levi’s house in Anacostia, DC recording the bulk of the songs and fulfilling the pledge made a year before.

Looking to translate the energy of the recordings into a live set, Luna Honey added baritone sax player Madeline Billhimer in February 2018. Though coming from a strong music background, Luna Honey is also Billhimer’s first band and represents a turning point in her career as a musician. Together, the group is eager to spread their gospel of confronting that things that scare you, and seeks to embody the possibilities of what you can achieve when you surrender your ego and open yourself up to other people and ideas.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Wednesday November 21st!

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Presenting Wanted Man at the Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds celebrates two years of hosting #DCmusic shows at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage with a raucous free performance on Wednesday October 10th by garage rock band Wanted Man!

Fronted by Kenny Pirog, Wanted Man plays all kinds of music. Their debut self-titled album has the colors of punk, surf, rock-a-billy, blues, folk, and country, varying from song to song.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Wednesday October 10th!


photo by Rob Stokes

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Presenting Time Is Fire at the Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds brings punk mysticism to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage with our September #DCmusic showcase featuring Time Is Fire!

Time is Fire is a band rooted in Washington DC’s punk scene but reaching out to embrace rhythms from across the world. The five-member group summons a kaleidoscopic sound that knows no borders – a sonic blast of radio distortion from a country that doesn’t exist. Fronted by an Iranian-born Sufi poet and backed by players steeped in punk, dance and experimental music, Time is Fire mixes pan-cultural rhythms, floor-shaking funk grooves and acid-laced guitar leads into a mind-expanding geopolitical dance party.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Monday September 24th!

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Presenting Light Beams at the Millennium Stage

Every month Hometown Sounds presents one of DC’s finest bands on the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage series, and in August we are thrilled to bring you the cutting edge dance punk of Light Beams.

Light Beams began in 2015 when longtime Dischord artist Justin Moyer (El Guapo, Supersystem, Edie Sedgwick, Puff Pieces) — influenced by 80s-era freestyle music and Sheila E. — started playing sampler and timbales with Sam Lavine, the longtime drummer of D.C. hip-hop mainstays the Cornel West Theory. With the addition of bassist Arthur Noll, formerly of Kid Congo Powers and Alarms & Controls, the resulting polyrhythmic melange, sometimes called “block rock,” reinvents late-20th century dance-pop using the tools of the 21st. Known for their blistering live performances and relentlessly positive attitudes, the band hopes to inspire audiences to feel good about themselves in an era when the menacing shadows of night seem more threatening than ever before.

With a cassette out on Don Giovanni Records and a split-seven inch with Ian Svenonius’s Escape-ism out on Lovitt Records, Light Beams has just completed a full-length record and has just completed a full-length record and is touring the Midwest in September. They are proud to be playing the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage for the first time.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Friday August 31st!


photo by Alicia Moyer

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Presenting allthebestkids at the Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds, the finest source for #DCmusic, is thrilled to present 10 piece hip-pop-pyche-rock band allthebestkids for our July showcase at the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage.

Allthebestkids come from the future, with one purpose; to spread the highest vibrational music this world has ever known. Instead of attempting to manipulate the past in their favor, ATBK wield pop, soul, hip hop, & psych rock as their luminous love filled mega sword, striking at the heart of darkness wherever they land. Those with pure intention, there’s no need to worry 🙂 – Allthebestkids will effortlessly fill your emotional tanks with the energy you so desperately desire, reminding you of something forgotten long ago. We are all the best kids.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Wednesday July 11th!

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Presenting the Beauty Pill Symphonette at the Millennium Stage

Your friendly neighborhood #DCmusic blog and podcast Hometown Sounds is very proud to present the Beauty Pill Symphonette on Sunday June 24th for our June showcase at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

Beauty Pill is a Washington, DC band led by singer/guitarist Chad Clark. The band includes Basla Andolsun (bass), Jean Cook (voice/monome), Drew Doucette (guitar) and Devin Ocampo (drums). The band sprang from the DC punk scene, distinguishing itself with detailed arrangements and technological experimentation.

The band recorded a suite of songs in view of the public, as a commissioned art exhibit. The result is an album called Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are.

For this Kennedy Center show, the band will incorporate a horn quartet, expanding to a 9-member ensemble Clark calls Beauty Pill Symphonette. They have only done this once before for a special 2016 performance at the Smithsonian Museum Of American Art.

“The horns bring a glow to the notes,” says Clark. “It’s subtle, but I love the sensation of it. The purpose of music communication. You’re communicating an idea or a feeling or a sensation. We value all three equally.”

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on June 24th!

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Presenting The Beanstalk Library at the Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds is tremendously excited to present the classic and folk rock sounds of the Ryan Walker fronted sextet The Beanstalk Library for our May #DCmusic showcase at the Kennedey Center’s Millennium Stage.

The Beanstalk Library has built a loyal following in the Washington, DC area and along the east coast with passionate and adventurous live performances. Their two full-length albums America At Night and The View From Here have drawn accolades from, among others, The Washington Post, who called their music “timeless” and compared it to Big Star and Teenage Fanclub. The band proudly continues this tradition with the release of the EP Returns, featuring 5 new AM-radio ready power-pop gems.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Thursday May 3rd!

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Presenting The Chuck Brown Band at the Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds celebrates both the past and the future of #DCmusic with our April showcase at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage with the classic go-go sounds of the Chuck Brown Band!

The Chuck Brown Band toured the world with the Godfather of Go Go for the most prolific period of his life, when he had 5 Billboard charting releases and a Grammy nomination over a ten year period. They continue to honor him by carrying the torch, keeping the beat alive and keeping the party going. Chuck Brown was always known for having only the best musicians from DC in his band. This often translated into having the best musicians, period. With the addition of Frank Sirius leading the band forward on guitar and vocals, the Chuck Brown Band is arguably the Crankin’est Band on the Planet. Chuck’s daughter KK has always been a part of the show, and Chuck’s son Wiley Brown has joined the band, keeping Chuck’s “Family Affair” vibe as much a part of the band as it is a part of the relationship between the band and the audience. Digging through the vault of Chuck Brown classics from Run Joe and Go-Go Swing to more recent hits like Chuck Baby and Beautiful Life as well as new material by the band interspersed with other Go-Go hits, the Chuck Brown Band combines the best of the Godfather and the best of Go-Go in an uplifting, show stopping performance. Infusing the Godfather’s mix of jazz, funk, and soul, along with audience call and response, his legacy continues. The Chuck Brown Band has been joined on stage by Ledisi, George Clinton, Dwele, Raheem DeVaughn, Lil Mo, Doug E Fresh, and others.

The Godfather may be gone, but his legacy continues as the Chuck Brown Band carries his funky groove forward without missing a B-E-A-T. Wind Us Up, Chuck!

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Thursday April 26th!

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Presenting The Caribbean at the Millennium Stage

Our #DCmusic showcase at the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage continues on Sunday March 4th with experimental pop group The Caribbean, composed of Michael Kentoff, Matthew Byars, and Dave Jones. The band has been critically acclaimed for its deconstructionist approach to pop music, its wry, literary lyrics, and its eclectic sound, which incorporates elements of American pop, indie rock and experimental rock, IDM, cool jazz, folk music, lounge music, and Brazilian music.

The Caribbean is an American experiment started in 2000 as a sort of “Steely Dan on a shoestring” – a response, perhaps, to being hemmed in (in past lives) as a pop group or a DC post-punk group or a trio or a quartet or an octet.

If I had to contrive a term for the music of The Caribbean, it would be “storycore.” If you sit down with the lyric sheet — and you should, you should — you’ll find a unique hybrid of narrative specificity and mischievous surrealism. As a songwriter, Michael Kentoff has quietly and modestly (but, make no mistake, deliberately) struck upon his own language. Caribbean songs are peppered with invented names and terms, populated by bureaucrats, clerks, spies, actresses who moonlight as spies, light bulbs and their switches, all glimpsed sideways with sympathy and bemusement, all in the middle of something happening. For the most part, the stories don’t appear to have beginnings or endings as far as I can suss. Kentoff is primarily concerned with the middle. As a result, the words read like a Raymond Carver anthology that fell in the pool and became almost too blurry to make out. Perhaps some musicologist historian of the future will spend time to dissect the Caribbean’s curious mythology. Maybe then we’ll learn how much of it was real and how much imagination. Until then, just enjoy the tunes.
– Chad Clark (Beauty Pill, Silver Sonya Studios)

You’re forced to occupy their barren pop architecture…. You don’t understand it, but, though you might not admit it, you do hope it will understand you. Or at least not destroy you…. You feel like there’s a real live pop song in there somewhere, but it seems that most of the essential moments have been recorded over with silence or incidental noise. There’s obviously still a skeleton to hang a song on, but you start to wonder whether you’re the one who was supposed to bring it…. These songs are for real, but they’re not about disappointment, or complacency, or shame, or attention, or glee. They’re about themselves. Without ironic distance, such oblique experiments can seem exhausting. But only on the giving end: it takes a humble and prolific writer, some cunning musicians, a very patient engineer, and an overarching commitment to self-censorship to pull an album like this off.
– Pitchfork

They’re taking Brill Building songs and writing them in invisible ink, turning jazz standards into Twilight Zone episodes, turning folk songs into clouds of fog.
– PopMatters

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Sunday March 4th!

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