Podcast for May 22nd, 2020

Tony adds a new dessert to his life, while Paul further develops his livestream DJing.

Black Masala – Afterglow [single]
Frass Green – The Band Is Breaking Up [Death of Pop]
Makeup Girl – My Time [single]
Smoke King – Paper Bag [single]
Scott Grim – New Old Flame [single]
Jon Camp Trio – Also Ran [The Drop Bear’s Song – An Australian Bushfire Relief Album]

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

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Frass Green – The Band Is Breaking Up

Frass Green, one of the absolute snazziest bedroom pop bands in DC, is about to release their new EP Death Of Pop on May 29th. The first single “The Band Is Breaking Up” is also Frass Green’s music video directorial debut, a curious collage of music and COVID-19-related footage that further marks this strange and jarring time in all our lives. All proceeds from the pre-sale of the EP go to Thrive DC, an organization providing for people experiencing homelessness and need in DC, so smash that Buy button now and maybe, just maybe, their show at Comet Ping Pong on Sunday September 6th with Flowerbomb and Eyelids will actually happen.


DCCOLLABO2020 – Message In A Bottle

A classic song that takes on new meaning in the time of coronavirus quarantine, The Police tune “Message In A Bottle” gets the cover treatment from DCCOLLABO2020, a new project featuring singer-songwriter Laura Tsaggaris, drummer Ben Tufts, Patrick “The Hammer On Bass” Thorton, Wes Lanich on keys and audio/visual producer Tim Lyons. DCCOLLABO2020 was born out of a desire to create, connect and share music during the period of social distancing as a response to the global Coronavirus pandemic. Contact dccollabo2020@gmail.com if you’d like to learn more, and grab the track on Tsaggaris’s Bandcamp page.

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Podcast for May 7th, 2020

Paul recounts a helicopter ride, while Tony binge-watches a dystopian TV series.

Flowerbomb – Sorry [single]
Raw Poetic & Damu the Fudgemunk – Nappy Heads [Moment of Change]
Yes Vacancy – Heavy Now [single]
Jasmine Gillison – Concrete [single]
The Sweater Set – Being Alone [Fly On The Wall]
Anthony Pirog – The Shape of a Raindrop [Remote Rhythms Benefit Compilation]

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

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Reed Appleseed – I Guess I’m Going To A Party (Tiny Desk Contest)

In singer-songwriter Reed Appleseed‘s 2020 NPR Music #TinyDeskContest entry “I Guess I’m Going To A Party”, he sings about the awkwardness of attending a social event just to please one’s partner. It’s a wistful and melancholic throwback to pre-quarantine life, and we wonder how the song’s narrator is getting along these days.

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Lightmare – Pica Taco 25 (Tiny Desk Contest)

Six piece soulpunk band Lightmare squeezed in this entry just under the 2020 Tiny Desk Contest deadline. “Pica Taco 25”, a new song presumably inspired by the local Taqueria Mexicana chain, is captured in this Zoom video that must have been challenging to synchronize with the tempo and intensity changes. Creativity finds a way!

On the song’s title, Lightmare responded:

Funny story, the title of the song was the automatically populated title on one of our phones when we recorded the first take. After searching for the right new title to capture the real message of the song—the ongoing battle with depression and trauma—we realized nothing felt adequate, so we chose to leave the title where it dropped.

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The Sweater Set – Being Alone (Song Premiere)


Sara Curtin and Maureen Andary, the two soulful folk musicians performing as The Sweater Set since 2008, recorded their new album Fly On The Wall in front of a live audience at Tonal Park in Takoma Park MD two full years ago, in April 2018. In “Being Alone”, the fourth advance single from Fly On The Wall which we’re honored to premiere today, Curtin sings “When did we get so bad at being alone?” Songs written ages ago can take on new meaning when our world suddenly shifts into a strange new quarantine. Hopefully we’ve gotten a bit better at being alone over the last month, and maybe this quiet, mellow tune can help.

Curtin and Andary have this to say about “Being Alone”:

SARA: I wrote this song in the dead of winter. Washington, DC is a city that clears out in December around the holidays and again in August during government recess. “Parking is easy, bars are empty.” The predictability of the pattern and the quiet of the city got me thinking about how we behave when we’re alone. Do we let ourselves feel it? Do we stare into the mirror discovering every new wrinkle and gray hair? Or are we forced to feel it only when the internet goes out and we can’t numb our loneliness with a mindless scroll through Instagram, or a whole night-long Netflix binge?

It’s meditative to sing this song. There are only two chords and even the vocal melodies and phrasing repeat while only the lyrics change. We always work very hard to sync our exact phrasing and breaths for our songs, but we spent extra time on this one because of its precise use of unison and counterpoint melody. If something is off, it pulls you out of the trance. Like when a fire engine goes by at the very end of a yoga class.

MAUREEN: It was special to sing this song together. It’s so interesting when we sing the refrain and the verse at the same time to end the song. The refrain is an expansive melody and we had to really plan our breathing for this one. We’ve done counterpoint in choral singing and also in our school days of musical theatre so this is a fun callback to those experiences. Don’t let the electric guitar fool you, this is Sara’s most Stephen Sondheim-esque reverie on the record.

SARA: “Being Alone” was the most patient and quiet I can remember ever being while writing a song. I remember sitting there, playing the chords over and over and just waiting for the words to come out. While experimenting with the effects on my electric guitar I started to notice very faint overtones. Those notes ended up as the very simple 2-note melody Maureen plays on the classical guitar. It happens very specifically only 3 times throughout the song when one or both of us sing the word “body”. It was one of those things that I was only able to notice because of how quiet I let my mind become while writing. It was fun to put hidden nuances and patterns like this all throughout the song.

MAUREEN: I love the backdrop this song has with the weather and the sense of place. What’s interesting is that the seasons and the places are so predictable, even in the city, the patterns of the people on the street are the same, but what changes is us. In February I complained to a mentor of mine that I didn’t want it to snow because I didn’t want school to be cancelled. And this guy was like “NO!! Don’t ever say that! It means you’re no fun anymore!” I realized he was right and immediately took it back. But I think that’s the essence of this song. I think that the narrator is feeling oddly confronted by the seasonal shift and wondering, why does this bother me now? Why am I uncomfortable with the quiet?”

Tune in Friday May 1st at noon to see The Sweater Set performing live in a split-screen Facebook livecast, and pre-order Fly On The Wall that day too, as Bandcamp is waiving their fees that day and sending more money to the musicians that need it most right now.

Photo credit: Amanda Reynolds


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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Podcast for April 23rd, 2020

Tony throws back to Windows 95 pinball, while Paul figures out how to set up a DJ livestream.

Smokin on Planes – Interspecies Love [single]
Brushes – Mars & Me [Mars & Me]
Griefcat – Marseille [Griefcat]
Kromanauts feat. Kool Keith – Heavyweight Building [DJ single]
Big Like Bear – Dancing in the Rain [Big Like What?]
Lizard Hands – I’m Trying To Be Okay [single]

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

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