Category Archives: video

Two Ton Twig – Beltway Wolf

Time for another #DCmusic entry in NPR Music’s #TinyDeskContest. This one is a new tune in the arsenal of bluegrass/folk band Two Ton Twig, a ripping song called “Beltway Wolf”. Give them a follow on Facebook to keep up with their periodic live streams.

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Shannon Gunn – Nature (Tiny Desk Contest)

We don’t get to post very many jazz music videos, so kudos to trombonist Shannon Gunn for her 2020 NPR Music #TinyDeskContest entry. Her new song “Nature”, in Gunn’s words, “celebrates nature in all its energy and glory”, “originally inspired by the old hymn ‘For the Beauty of the Earth.'” Featuring Kelton Norris on drums, Karine Chapdelaine on bass, and Chris Barrick on vibraphone, this take was the winner even with Barrick’s brief sheet music snafu.

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Drew Beckman + The Boundary Boys – Hellfire (Tiny Desk Contest)

Drew Beckman, DC’s only queer cowboy singer, put together this entry to the 2020 NPR Music #TinyDeskContest in the innocent time before our COVID-19 lockdown. “Hellfire”, a brand new song backed by The Boundary Boys, is about “diving headfirst into sin and enjoying every second of it.” Damn, remember sinning? Those were the days.

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Tim Hicks x Dirty Church – Jim Vance (Tiny Desk Contest)

Today’s #TinyDeskContest entry is pure DC. Rapper Tim Hicks of the funk/hip-hop band The Cornel West Theory grabbed our attention with his new solo album Bullets and specifically the historical ode to legendary NBC4 news anchor “Jim Vance”. While on lockdown, Hicks filmed this flawless and fiery delivery of the track while accompanied by Zsameria on Hula Hoop, Zoie Bilhah Agostino Hicks on Bow & Arrow and the menacing Henok Yohannes Hicks on Nerf Gun. Hicks writes “Washington D.C. is the next untapped market for great music. It would only be right for the next winner of the NPR Tiny Desk Concert 2020 to be from the city where NPR Headquarters is based!!!”

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Near Northeast & Takunda M. – Flowers (Tiny Desk Contest)

We’re one week before the extended deadline falls on NPR Music’s 2020 Tiny Desk Contest, so it’s time for Hometown Sounds to focus on the worthy entries from the DC area. Indie folk band Near Northeast has led our coverage for the last four years, and their ambitious 2020 entry makes good use of the limitations of our current situation. Their most recent album Cabin Sessions is a collaboration with Nashville resident Takunda M. Since the DC-based band members can’t get together right now to record a song in person, they used videoconferencing to bring in Takunda’s voice for the haunting song “Flowers”. We’ve watched a lot of musical livestreams in the last month on YouTube, FB Live, IG and Zoom, and this one really shows what’s possible with some organization and teamwork.

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Bad Moves – Party With The Kids Who Want To Party With You

“Party with the kids who want to party with you.” Seems like simple advice, right? As daily life becomes more and more untenable, we must seek solace and joy from the people who get us, members of our tribes. But all this social distancing makes that way more difficult. For now, let’s come together to dance to the methodically catchy new single from one of DC’s finest indie pop band Bad Moves, and the delightful music video from Ben Epstein and singer David Combs’s production team Baby Pony Food Productions. I bet they could really use a preorder right now for Untenable, the new album dropping on May 29th.

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Griefcat – Marseille (An Ode to Bidets)

Here’s a cheery song to worm into your ears on another locked-down Monday. Songwriters Annie Nardolilli and Louisa Hall are surely bummed that the release show for their debut full length album as Griefcat at Pearl Street Warehouse is postponed, like everything else. But no one could have foreseen the sudden scarcity of humble toilet paper and the surge of interest in alternatives. “Marseille (An Ode To Bidets)”, the album’s first single and music video, is a delightful tour through the French toiletry’s unfamiliar benefits. Video director Tia Shuyler goes full Marie Antoinette with powdered wigs and gauzy cinematography. As the duo have promised music videos for all the album’s songs, we are ever grateful for the anticipation.

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The North Country – Island

Andrew Grossman, frontman of The North Country, turns his full band into a multi-layered solo project for The Quarantine Sessions. The first offering is “Island”, originally from the 2017 album In Defense of Cosmic Altruism, a mellow ballad given new meaning in our lockdown days. It’s nice to see the reappearance of the logo from the 2015 album There Is Nothing To Fear, and we wish it were true.

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Beauty Pill – Pardon Our Dust

Finally, we have some good news to share. At long last, experimental pop band Beauty Pill (one of Time Magazine’s Top 10 of the 2010s!) have signed with Brooklyn label Northern Spy Records and posted the new 4 song EP Please Advise on Bandcamp for pre-order. All formats are covered, including cassette, CD, regular black vinyl and limited edition “bone” colored vinyl. The album comes out May 8th, but you’ll want to get that pre-order in ASAP, because today Bandcamp is waiving their fees and directing all proceeds to labels and musicians.

Today’s new music video is the EP’s first single “Pardon Our Dust”. The music comprises an intriguing mix of crisp electronics and warm brass, hearkening back to Beauty Pill’s performance at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage back in 2018 that featured the Beauty Pill Symphonette. We heard an early version of this song then, with mastermind Chad Clark on vocals. Now the singing comes from new band-member Erin Mitchell Nelson, who also performs as a classically trained dancer. Video director Meredith Bragg captures Nelson’s sublime grace mixed with interesting visual quirks that one expects in a Beauty Pill video. Nelson is a company member at Taffety Punk Theatre Company, which just last month remounted the play “suicide.chat.room” that featured Beauty Pill’s score Sorry You’re Here.

As you read the song’s lyrics in this video, you’re probaby wondering what Matt Damon is doing in this song. We’d direct you to timestamp 17:54 in Beauty Pill’s Millennium Stage show for Clark’s explanation. Instead of feeling like we’re all locked up at home with nowhere to go, let’s instead live inside our own hearts.

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Free Soil – Black

WORLD PREMIERE!

It’s been quite an intense week, right? The race for the Democratic presidential nomination winnowed down to the insurgent versus the establishment, the dreaded coronavirus haunts public gatherings and airplanes, and we all re-learn to wash our hands.

In the midst of all this, we’d like to introduce you to Free Soil, the new group on the experimental label Verses Records. Taking their name from a short lived political party in the early 1850s (motto: “free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men”), this anti-fascist, non-partisan band seeks to “provide documented demonstration in the form of audio/visual presentation both in media and live events”. For now, the quartet is withholding their identities to “prevent retaliation from government, state, corporate, and fascist entities who serve to provide false information in benefit of special interests”.

Their debut release “Black” is an absolute gut-punch on the fraught subject of fascism. An automated narrator iterates through the 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism, documented years ago in an article by Dr. Lawrence Britt. The video, compiled under the Fair Use Act, showcases the dangers of our current political climate and bad actors. Eschewing monetary compensation, Free Soil endeavors for a grass-roots campaign to disseminate this powerful work, with downloads enabled through Vimeo or at this link.

Free Soil plan more releases soon with works concerning government and corporate corruption, gun violence, colonialism/imperialism, climate change, and current social issues. Their live presentation promises a sensory overload, incorporating gut rattling sonic dynamics, challenging video content and hypnotic strobes and lighting. Don’t miss them next on Wednesday March 18th at the VFW 9274 in Falls Church along with DC’s Luna Honey, Fix Your Hearts and NYC post-metal acts Kayo Dot and Psalm Zero.

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