Category Archives: Presenting

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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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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Presenting Super! Silver! Haze! at the Millennium Stage

The monthly #DCmusic collaboration between Hometown Sounds and the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage goes supersonic in January as we present Super! Silver! Haze! on Thursday January 18th at 6 PM.

Super! Silver! Haze! features Brendan Canty (composer, film maker, audio engineer) on drums and percussion instruments, Doug Kallmeyer (Verses Records label collective organizer, composer, sound designer, audio engineer) on bass guitars, keyboards and loopers, and Monica Stroik (Verses Records art director, Visual designer, multimedia artist) on video. Collectively the group represents decades of composition, performance and international touring experience coupled with modern, visual technologies.

“The sound travels between quiet string and ambient key pads to immense drones with psychedelic riffs and pounding beats. Vivid, large scale visual projections are manipulated in real time as an integral component of each composition resulting in an immersive, cinematic experience.”

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Thursday January 18th!

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Presenting Run Come See @ Millennium Stage

DC’s original source for homegrown music Hometown Sounds is really excited to present Run Come See for our December #DCmusic showcase at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

Run Come See is a project of Washington, DC musicians Lauren Calve (slide guitar/vocals), John Figura (guitar/vocals), and Tom Liddle (upright bass/vocals). Each bringing their own sensibilities of songwriting to the band, Run Come See is a distillation of soulful blues, rock, and country. As a trio, Run Come See creates a deceptively full sound weaving together powerful lead vocals, intricate harmonies, and arrangements that highlight the beauty, power, and range of each instrument. Sharing songwriting, taking turns singing lead, and featuring each instrument, the band is a balanced collaboration between seasoned musicians who respect each other’s skill and musical voice while pushing each other in new directions. After the release of their recent debut album, the trio has been exploring new territory with Fred James on drums and DC jazz legend Thad Wilson (trumpet) leading a dynamic horn section.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Wednesday December 27th!

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Presenting The Sara Curtin Five @ Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds continues its core mission to spread the word about awesome #DCmusic with our November Kennedy Center Millennium Stage showcase presenting The Sara Curtin Five!

It isn’t easy to pigeonhole Sara Curtin’s sound. The Washington City Paper describes her 2017 album Or So It Seemed as “a full portrait of a human being: nuanced, complex, and contradictory.” She writes honest, autobiographical songs which invite the listener to explore the human experience. Born and raised right here in Washington, DC on The Beatles, Michael Jackson, musical theater, and Joni Mitchell, the influences present in her songwriting are eclectic. AudioFemme calls her music “smart yet delicious, like a kale smoothie as yummy as a milkshake.”

Sara Curtin is a CMJ.com premiered artist and her 2015 album Michigan Lilium charted on the CMJ Top 200 charts. That Music Magazine calls her “a gifted songwriter who understands that you don’t write because you want to say something, but because you have something to say and she sure as heck says it exquisitely.” Sara made a name for herself in the folk scene with her duo The Sweater Set (with Maureen Andary), who performed across the US, UK, and Ireland, and were former Artist-In-Residence at Strathmore. Sara is also a current Artist Fellow with the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities (2014 – 2018). Brightest Young Things names her “One of D.C.’s finest.” In 2017, Curtin founded Local Woman Records.

To support the fall 2017 release of Or So It Seemed, Sara toured the East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast and is thrilled to finish the year by playing such an esteemed venue as The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage presented by Hometown Sounds!

The Sara Curtin Five consists of Maureen Andary, Olivia Mancini, Brendan Polmer, and Ryan Walker – each established and highly talented artists & songwriters in their own right.

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

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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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Presenting BRNDA @ Millennium Stage

All of us at Hometown Sounds are totally excited to present BRNDA at our September #DCmusic showcase at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

BRNDA, a four-piece from DC, has been compared to Adam and the Ants, Parquet Courts and Pixies. Perhaps this panoply of cultural post-its is unavoidable at a time when all music is
listenable, always pilferable. BRNDA, like any honest band, admits to the plundering, but they do have a few rules: No covers, No love songs. Also, simple is always better. So if they have scoured the late 70s, 80s and early 2010s for musical detritus, they haven’t made off with just anything salvageable. No, only the least ostentatious, most off-kilter will do. And so, if you find yourself unable to put your finger on just what you’re hearing, it is because BRNDA is not just some rehashed comfort listening. Couple the music with the world-wary, at-times indecipherable lyrical meaning of the vocalists (they all sing), and you might begin to doubt yourself…but you might also enjoy it. This is exactly how BRNDA wants you to feel.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Thursday September 7th!

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Presenting The Lucky So & Sos @ Millennium Stage

For our August #DCmusic showcase at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, we’d like to introduce you to The Lucky So & Sos.

The Lucky So & Sos are a Washington DC-based tropical jazz/funk/hip hop band. Established in 2014, the Lucky So & Sos put on a high energy show heavy on improvisation that melds elements of bossa nova, samba, funk, Latin jazz, gypsy jazz and blues with hip hop vocals. The So & Sos have performed at many of the top venues in and around Washington DC including Rock and Roll Hotel, DC9, Velvet Lounge, IOTA and Club Heaven, where they debuted at a Flashband hip hop showcase performing a 20 minute medley of J Dilla beats.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Friday August 18th!

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