Category Archives: Presenting

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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Presenting Stranger in the Alps @ Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds kindly invites you to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage for our July #DCmusic showcase featuring Stranger in the Alps.

Stranger in the Alps is a music project founded in 2013 by singer-songwriter Steve Kolowich and his friends in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington. The band started as a lark, performing at open mic nights and in living rooms. The band’s name comes from the edited-for-TV version of an unspeakable line from the film The Big Lebowski. Its sound evolved through a combination of design and happenstance as a rotating cast of D.C. musicians elaborated on Kolowich’s demo recordings.

The band released its first album, Honey If You’re Lucky, in 2013, and its second album, Pattern Matching, in 2015, both of which were produced by D.C. pop wizard Louis Weeks. The Washington City Paper called Pattern Matching “a rich mix of alt-country, electronic, and chamber pop,” and later named Stranger in the Alps the “best folk troubadour” in the city.

In 2016 the band released a single, “The Most Photographed Barn in America,” a meditation on tourism — inspired by a scene in the novel White Noise by Don DeLillo — featuring a woodwind arrangement by the New York jazz player Ethan Helm. Collectively speaking, Stranger in the Alps is a sucker for harmony, Americana, and language games. They are grateful for your time and attention.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Tuesday July 18th!

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Presenting Will Eastman @ Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds is truly honored to present DJ, producer and DC legend Will Eastman at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage for our June #DCmusic showcase.

Leader of numerous indie bands since age 15, Eastman pushes boundaries, melding house, techno, disco, and left-field sounds in his DJ sets and productions. His DJ career began in 2000 when he started Bliss, a monthly resident night focused on emerging dance music. Held in a no-attitude/no velvet rope setting, his Bliss residency, meant to be a temporary creative project, set him on course for a career in music. Growing over time in popularity and stature, Bliss helped shape D.C.’s expanding dance music scene and became the city’s longest-running emerging dance music club night, lasting 15 years and eventually morphing into the popular dance music website Blisspop. Building on his experience, Eastman dedicated himself to a full-time DJ and music production career in 2007 and found immediate success with his 2009 disco/house debut single, “Feelin’”, which received endorsements from dance music legends Fatboy Slim and Donald Glaude. More original productions and remixes followed, receiving broad support from artists as diverse as Daniel Avery, Aeroplane, and Tiesto, earning Will features on BBC Radio 1 and NPR. From 2011 to 2013 he was a member of the group Volta Bureau whose song, “Alley Cat”, topped Beatport’s Indie Dance chart for an unprecedented 11 straight weeks.

After nearly two decades as a DJ, in which he helped transform the D.C. dance music scene, he released his debut full-length album Hilo in 2017, which featured collaborations with Patrick Baker, Eau Claire, and Outputmessage.

In addition to making and playing music, Will is owner of U Street Music Hall, a music-focused venue that hosts DJs and live bands and is equally revered by its clientele and the talent that performs there. Named one of America’s top 10 dance clubs by Rolling Stone and best dance club in the region by the Washington Post, U Hall’s laid-back environment with no dress code, 1,200 square foot cork-cushioned floor, award-winning sound system, and internationally-recognized programming—from on-the-rise acts to veteran crowdpleasers—have helped make it a music lover’s paradise since opening in 2010.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Friday June 23rd!

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Presenting Color Palette @ Millennium Stage

Hometown Sounds is way beyond delighted to present synthpop band Color Palette for our May #DCmusic showcase at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

Color Palette takes experiences like heartbreak and love, and together turns them into something mystical and inviting. The band, comprised of Jay Nemeyer, Joshua Hunter, Matt Hartenau, Rogerio Naressi, and Maryjo Mattea, is an electro-rock/synthpop band from Washington, DC. Since their first release on June 1, 2015, Color Palette have garnered hundreds of press hits worldwide. Press highlights include features in NME Magazine, USA Today, NPR, and Impose Magazine. Locally (Washington, DC), they were nominated for three 2015 Washington Area Music Awards – (Best) Pop Rock Duo/Group, Pop Rock Recording, and Pop Rock Vocalist. Color Palette released their debut full-length album ‘Vaporwave’ in May 2016. They have shared bills with many notable national artists including Charli XCX, The Naked and Famous, Mother Mother, Day Wave, Yumi Zouma, Mr Little Jeans, The Kickback, Spirit Animal, and VanLadyLove.

RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Tuesday May 30th!

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